Former Trump administration aide Peter Navarro slammed federal authorities Friday following his arrest for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021, likening their tactics to “terrorism.”
Navarro is one of multiple former Trump aides whom Democrats on the committee have sought information from as they look to tie former President Donald Trump to the rioting at the U.S. Capitol. As The New York Times reported, Navarro is the first former Trump administration official who was serving when the riots occurred to be indicted in connection with the investigation.
“Prosecutors charged Mr. Navarro, 72, with what amounted to a misdemeanor process crime for having failed to appear for a deposition or provide documents to congressional investigators in response to a subpoena issued by the House committee on Feb. 9,” the outlet reported.
“The indictment includes two counts of criminal contempt of Congress that each carry a maximum sentence of a year in prison, as well as a fine of up to $100,000.”
Navarro was taken into custody by the FBI on Friday and released later that day, Fox News reported. Speaking outside of a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., the 72-year-old said he was handcuffed while traveling to Nashville and then put in a jail cell.
The former White House trade adviser said he had been in contact with federal authorities days before his arrest. But instead of arresting him at his home or asking that he turn himself in, the FBI took him into custody in public, Navarro said.
“I told them [t0] contact an individual that would discuss this matter. What did they do? They didn’t call me,” he told reporters.
“I spoke to the FBI agent that arrested me. I spoke to him Wednesday night. I said, ‘Walter, whatever you need. You don’t have to come banging on my door like you did last week getting me out of bed. I’m here to cooperate.’ What did they do? I was on my way to Nashville today to do a TV appearance with Mike Huckabee‘s show, all right?”
“And instead of coming to my door where I live, which by the way is right next to the FBI, instead of calling me and say, ‘Hey, we need you down in court, we’ve got a warrant for you,’ I would have gladly come. What did they do? They intercepted me getting on the plane,” he added.
“Then they put me in handcuffs, they bring me here, they put me in leg irons stick me in a cell.”
Navarro continued by comparing his treatment at the hands of the FBI to the way the authoritarian regimes in Soviet Russia and communist China treated their prisoners.
“They responded with effectively the same kind of thing you’d see in Stalin‘s Russia or the Chinese Communist Party,” he said. “I note interestingly for the record, the only two people that have been indicted on criminal charges are me and Steve Bannon.”
What federal authorities did to him is “terrorism,” Navarro said.
“There was no reason on God’s good Earth for what they did today to an American citizen. That did not have to happen. It’s terrorism, it’s coercion. There’s no excuse for what they did today,” he said. “America needs to know this.”
Democrats on the Jan. 6 committee are using the Justice Department as a tool to bludgeon their political enemies, Navarro added.
“Their mission, their clear mission, is to prevent Donald John Trump from running for president in 2024 and being elected president,” Navarro said. “People like me are in their way and they’re not coming for me, they’re coming for you. All 74 million of you who voted for Donald John Trump.”