- The Washington Times
Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro is accusing the Justice Department of “selective prosecution” and says his arrest on criminal contempt of Congress charges is proof of FBI weaponization.

Mr. Navarro said the FBI’s tactics are undermining Americans’ trust in the justice system.

“When they arrested me at the airport and wound up putting me in leg irons, I was in solitary confinement for almost 3 hours while the FBI leaked my arrest to the press within nanoseconds and grabbing me with five armed FBI agents,” Mr. Navarro said Tuesday of his arrest at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

“Look, the facts are the facts, Sean,” he said. “They grabbed me, put me in leg irons.”

Mr. Navarro, who was indicted by a grand jury in June for failing to comply with the House Jan. 6 committee’s subpoena compelling him to produce documents and testify before Congress, drew parallels between his treatment by the FBI and the agency’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

“They went down to Mar-a-Largo with a battalion of FBI agents,” he said. “Both President Trump and I were cooperating with the National Archives, and the Justice Department is a disproportionate response they weaponized.”

In June, Mr. Navarro requested “signed affidavits from Special Agents Walter Giardina and Sebastian Gardner denying the defendant requested a call for legal advice on the jetway where he was taken,” in addition to audio and video recordings of the arrest and transcripts of the conversations that took place.

Mr. Navarro claims he was strip-searched, placed in leg irons “for several hours,” denied a request for water and not provided food.

The Justice Department has refused to divulge details behind the arrest.

“The bigger issue here, Sean, and this is what they’re afraid of,” Mr. Navarro said Tuesday. “We in our discovery motion want to find out exactly who made the decision to do that public arrest and put me in leg irons.”

“Why did they do it and why, for example, if I committed the crimes they said I did, why didn’t they charge, for example, Dan Scavino and Mark Meadows as they did me?” he said. “That’s what they call selective prosecution.”

Shortly after Mr. Navarro was indicted, the Justice Department declined to indict former Trump White House officials Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino after both men were found in contempt of Congress by the committee.

All three former officials refused to comply fully with the committee’s probe citing the former president’s claims of executive privilege, which former President Donald Trump asserted in a lawsuit to block the release of White House documents to the committee.

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon was also indicted on criminal contempt of Congress charges for bucking the committee’s demands.

Mr. Bannon was found guilty of two misdemeanor accounts of criminal contempt of Congress last month. He is appealing the decision.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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