Peter Navarro Convicted of Contempt of Congress Over Jan. 6 Subpoena

The verdict made Mr. Navarro the second top adviser to former President Donald J. Trump to be found guilty of contempt for defying the House committee’s investigation.

Peter Navarro, a former trade adviser to President Donald J. Trump, was convicted on Thursday of two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

The verdict, coming after nearly four hours of deliberation in Federal District Court in Washington, made Mr. Navarro the second top adviser of Mr. Trump’s to be found guilty in connection to the committee’s inquiry. Stephen K. Bannon, a former strategist for Mr. Trump who was convicted of the same offense last summer, faces four months in prison and remains free on appeal.

Mr. Navarro, 74, stood to the side of his lawyers’ table, stroking his chin as the verdict was read aloud. Each count carries a maximum of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. A hearing to determine his sentence was scheduled for January.

Speaking outside the courthouse afterward, Mr. Navarro repeatedly vowed to appeal his conviction.

“I am willing to go to prison to settle this issue, I’m willing to do that,” he said. “But I also know that the likelihood of me going to prison is relatively small because we are right on this issue.”

The jury’s decision handed a victory to the House committee, which had sought to penalize senior members of the Trump administration who refused to cooperate with one of the chief investigations into the Capitol riot.

The trial also amounted to an unusual test of congressional authority. Since the 1970s, referrals for criminal contempt of Congress have rarely resulted in the Justice Department’s bringing charges. Mr. Navarro was indicted last June on two misdemeanor counts of contempt, one for failing to appear for a deposition and another for refusing to provide documents in response to the committee’s subpoena.

The rapid pace of the trial reflected, in part, the fact that the case turned on a straightforward question, whether Mr. Navarro had willfully defied lawmakers in flouting a subpoena. Even before the trial began, Judge Amit P. Mehta, who presided over the case, dealt a blow to Mr. Navarro by ruling that he could not use in court what he has publicly cast as his principal defense: that Mr. Trump personally directed him not to cooperate and that he was protected by those claims of executive privilege.

Mr. Navarro, a Harvard-trained economist and a strident critic of China, devised some of the Trump administration’s most adversarial trade policiestoward the country. Once the pandemic took hold, he helped coordinate the United States’s response by securing equipment like face masks and ventilators. But after the 2020 election, he became more focused on plans to keep Mr. Trump in power.

Mr. Navarro was of particular interest to the committee because of his frequent television appearances in which he cast doubt on the election results and peddled specious claims of voter fraud.

He also documented those assertions in a three-part report on purported election irregularities, as well as in a memoir he published after he left the White House. In the book, Mr. Navarro described a strategy he had devised with Mr. Bannon known as the Green Bay Sweep, aimed at overturning the results of the election in key swing states that had been called for Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But when the committee asked Mr. Navarro to testify last February, he repeatedly insisted that Mr. Trump had ordered him not to cooperate. By asserting executive privilege, he argued, the former president had granted him immunity from Congress’s demands.

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