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Peter Navarro


Peter Navarro is an economist, former professor and erstwhile politician who failed to win mayoral or congressional elections. Although he ran for office as a Democrat and once railed against right-wing Republicans, he served in several advisory roles during the Trump administration, including as assistant to the president, director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, and national policy coordinator for the Defense Production Act. An extremist in his views on trade, he is the author of Death by China, among other books.

In his 1998 autobiography San Diego Confidential, Navarro admitted to being “the cruelest and meanest son-of-a-bitch who ever ran for public office in San Diego,” adding:: “I still have some principles, but not as many as you might think because I don’t have any concern at all about making stuff up about my opponent that isn’t exactly true.”

After President Biden won the 2020 election, Navarro worked to develop legal and political strategies to overturn the results and help Trump hold on to power. On November 18, 2020, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel completed a report concluding that he had repeatedly violated the Hatch Act by engaging in political activity despite his official capacity in the White House.

In June 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Navarro on two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify or hand over documents subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The committee was especially interested in his testimony given his active role in spreading the Big Lie via media appearances and dubious “reports” of election fraud that he wrote and distributed to members of Congress in the weeks leading up to the insurrection.  In his public appearances and written reports—both before and after the election—he reiterated unfounded claims of election irregularities and accused Democrats of using “immaculate deception” to steal the election.

In September 2023, a jury found Navarro guilty of the two DOJ charges—a verdict he unsuccessfully attempted to appeal by requesting a retrial. In making final arguments in the case, prosecutor Elizabeth Aloi pointed out that the defendant “chose allegiance to President Trump over compliance with the subpoena,” which is not only “contempt” but ” a crime.” In January 2024, the federal judge presiding over the case sentenced Navarro to four months in prison, taking issue with his attempt to claim “executive privilege” by reminding him that: “It’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card.” He subsequently served his prison time in Miami from March–July 2024.

Navarro continues to profit from his association with Trump, publishing three books in recent years with titles such as In Trump Time: My Journal of America’s Plague Year (2021), Taking Back Trump’s America: Why We Lost the White House and How We’ll Win It Back (2022), and The True Meaning of Trump’s MAGA: Lessons from the 2022 Republican Red Wave That Never Happened (2023). In one, he boasts about the Green Bay Sweep, a strategy he cooked up with fellow Trump acolyte Steve Bannon aimed at persuading Vice President Pence to reject the results of the election in key swing states that had been called for Biden.

January 6, 2021

  • Two days after the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, Navarro claimed in a Fox Business interview that Trump was not responsible for the violence.
  • On Feb. 9, 2022, the House Select Committee investigating the attack issued a subpoena for Navarro to turn over documents and appear for a deposition relating to his publicly-stated efforts to overturn the election. However, he refused to comply with the subpoena, echoing Trump in citing executive privilege.
  • Navarro was indicted and arrested in June 2022 for his refusal to comply with the committee’s subpoena. He pled not guilty, but after his trial had been postponed several times, in September 2023 a jury found him guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress. He faces a maximum of two years in prison as a result.

The Big Lie

  • In December 2020, Navarro published a report on Bannon’s War Room repeating debunked claims that election “irregularities” in six states proved that the election had been fraudulently stolen from Trump. According to The Guardian, he and his aides began working on the report two weeks before Election Day.
  • Navarro followed the initial report with two more volumes. Altogether, the three-part Navarro Report is an 86-page document his staff created compiling and elaborating on many of the incorrect, misleading, and debunked narratives alleging widespread voter fraud and ballot mishandling in the 2020 presidential election.
  • Navarro participated in the Jan. 2, 2021 call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn the state’s election outcome. After that conversation, he also took part in the Trump team’s call with legislators from Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin discussing how to overturn the certified Biden electors in those states.
  • In a Fox News interview with Jeanine Pirro on Jan. 2, 2021, Navarro repeated false claims that the election had been stolen. He argued incorrectly that Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to delay certification of the election and Biden’s inauguration by demanding an investigation into the results.
  • According to Rolling Stone, Navarro and Bannon put together an unsuccessful plan called the Green Bay Sweep in which they coordinated with politicians such as Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to attempt to halt the congressional certification of the 2020 Electoral College results.
  • On July 11, 2022, Navarro claimed that Pence was guilty of treason for not telling Trump about Navarro’s claim that the vice president did have the authority to prevent the certification of Biden’s electoral victory.