Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro has been charged with two counts of contempt of Congress by the federal grand jury as he failed to cooperate with the January 6 House Committee.
Navarro, 72, ignored the committee's subpoena to testify before House investigators in March and also failed to provide related documents in early February. The investigators believe Navarro worked with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and a few others on plans to change the results of the 2020 elections.
The former Trump adviser is the second official after Bannon to be indicted for criminal contempt of congress for going against a Committee subpoena for Capitol attack investigation. Bannon is scheduled to face a criminal trial for the same this summer.
According to CNN, the 72-year-old was taken into custody at the airport on Friday when he was on his way to Nashville and made his first appearance in federal court. Alleging prosecutorial misconduct, he said he'd represent himself ad was joined by a court-appointed attorney for further assistance because he is not an attorney.
Accusing the government of "hardball" tactics, Navarro claimed that he had been willing to cooperate with the prosecutors as he had informed them to get in touch with a lawyer on Wednesday.
Calling the Jan. 6 Committee a "sham" the former Trump adviser requested that his lawsuit against the committee and the Justice department, to be 'litigated first' before his criminal proceedings, CBS reported.
"The arraignment should be postponed for a number of reasons," Navarro said.
With the next court appearance scheduled for 17 June, the Justice Department did not ask for his detention but he will not be allowed to possess firearms.
Since he argued that the conditions of the release were too strict, the court allowed him to retain his passport on conditions that he must get an approval before travelling outside the continental US.
The Justice Department however, has declined the January 6 Committee's suggestion to charge former chief of staff Mark Meadows and social media director Dan Scavino with contempt of Congress.
US Attorney Matthew Graves notified House Counsel Douglas Letter about the Justice Department's decision to "not initiate prosecutions for criminal contempt" against Meadows and Scavino, on Friday, as per sources familiar with the investigation told NYT.
Both of them were deeply involved in the former president's attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and were engaged in negotiations with the Committee as well as the Office of Legal Counsel for months to avoid testifying.