Trump gave Peter Navarro 'direct order' to defy congressional subpoena: report
Peter Navarro (screengrab)

Donald Trump's former trade adviser, Peter Navarro, claims the former president gave him a "direct order" not to comply with a subpoena from a House committee investigating the White House's COVID-19 response.

The committee on Saturday released a Dec. 7 letter from Navarro in which he confirmed that he will defy the subpoena.

In the letter, Navarro quoted Trump as saying, "I'm telling Peter Navarro to protect executive privilege and not let these unhinged Democrats discredit our great accomplishments."

Navarro wrote: "Not only is this a direct, proper and explicit invocation of the executive privilege .... It is a direct order that I should not comply with the Subpoena ..."

“[T]his matter is out of my hands and something that the Sub-Committee should discuss with President Trump’s counsel,” Navarro wrote to the committee, rejecting their requests to turn over documents and share other information.

According to the Washington Post, Navarro is the first person who has refused to comply with a subpoena from the committee investigating the Trump administration's COVID-19 response.

"Failing to comply with a subpoena can put a potential witness in 'contempt of Congress,' which can lead to escalating financial penalties and the possibility of jail time. Democrats have given Navarro until Dec. 15 to sit for a deposition and demanded again on Saturday that he turn over relevant records.

Navarro previously said that instead of complying with the subpoena, "I will be delivering a case of my new book 'In Trump Time' to members of the committee which explains why this is indeed a witch hunt."

During a recent interview about his book, Navarro blamed the pandemic on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, calling him "truly evil" and suggesting he should be jailed.