peter navarro
(Photo: United States Mission Geneva/Flickr)

Peter Navarro, a former economic adviser to Donald Trump, claimed that he was subpoenaed by a grand jury that's investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

It's the first indication that the Justice Department is taking significant legal steps to act over the information obtained by the House Select Committee beyond just pursuing charges against the Capitol rioters.

Grand juries are secret to jurors and counsel, but witnesses can reveal the information that they are asked. Such is the case with Navarro.

But former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig, gave a warning about buying into Navarro's claims by noting he tends to lie -- a lot.

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In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, Honig, who previously served as the director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, urged caution when weighing the comments from Navarro.

As Honig explained, if we accept the premise that Navarro did get a subpoena over Jan. 6, it's important to see what the subpoena actually says.

"Usually, a federal grand jury subpoena will describe the information or testimony sought," Honig noted, "and will list a statute — a specific law — being investigated. That info will be key."

Previously, Navarro ignored the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6 and ended up among those who were held in contempt of Congress, although the DOJ has yet to file formal charges against him.

That won't work out well before a grand jury and Honig explained Navarro would lose any attempt to hide from the panel.

"If and when he does lose, he'll either have to testify in a grand jury or be held in contempt and potentially locked up," Honig noted.

He can certainly plead his Fifth Amendment rights, just like every other American, but as Honig recalled, "Navarro himself says in his paper that taking the Fifth is disgraceful."

Honig also explained that it's fair to ask what has taken the Justice Department so long to deal with a plot to overthrow the government.

"Info about Navarro's involvement has been public for months now. Yes, investigations take time, and yes they want to button up, but this pace is glacial," said Honig. "Also, important to note: DOJ typically does *not* subpoena targets -- meaning somebody against whom DOJ has substantial evidence and is a likely defendant. So this suggests prosecutors do not currently intend to charge Navarro with a crime. But this does suggest DOJ believes Navarro is a witness with relevant information to a *potential* criminal case."

It doesn't mean that Navarro would be charged with anything, but it also doesn't mean Trump would be charged with a crime, he explained.

"But it does indicate that DOJ's investigation is expanding in a meaningful way," he closed.

Read the thread here.