Former White House adviser Peter Navarro claimed that he could not speak to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress and the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election because it would violate executive privilege.
It was a claim that several Trump staff tried to use to dodge testifying to the committee including Steve Bannon, Dan Scavino and former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Meadows has been the only one that the Justice Department didn't charge.
Politico reported on Thursday that Navarro's effort to dismiss his case failed after U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta denied the motion. Navarro gave no evidence of the claim other than his own assertion, which is what prompted Mehta to say he couldn't grant the motion.
“Defendant has failed to come forward with any evidence to support the claimed assertion of privilege. And, because the claimed assertion of executive privilege is unproven, Defendant cannot avoid prosecution for contempt,” Mehta wrote.
During the court discussions, Mehta appeared irritated at Navarro's lawyers' inability to provide any evidence to help Navarro's case.
"I'm asking for anything," Mehta told Navarro's lawyer. "You aren't even telling me that he [Trump] whispered in his ear. You’ve given me nothing."
Mehta also noted that there isn't much of a precedent or guidance for use of executive privilege in cases like this. Other Trump aides who have tried to assert privilege (Meadows and Scavino) at the very least produced letters from the president about it. Navarro didn't.
It means that Navarro's trial on two charges of contempt of Congress will move forward this month where he faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison on each charge.
The Jan. 6 committee sought testimony from Navarro about his work with Bannon over the attempt to get Congress to stop the election certification.
"Mehta’s ruling also gutted a series of defenses Navarro had hoped to raise at his trial, including that he had a 'good-faith belief' that he was immune from the committee’s subpoena, Politico reported.