DOJ asks court to force former Trump aide Navarro to turn over docs

Politics

Former Trump official Peter Navarro speaks to reporters as he departs E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington, D.C., following a hearing regarding his trial for contempt of Congress on Friday, July 15, 2022. (Peter Afriyie/The Hill)

(NewsNation) — The Justice Department has asked a judge to force former White House aide Peter Navarro to turn over hundreds of documents they say belong to the government.

In a court filing, the U.S. said Navarro’s lawyer told investigators upwards of 250 documents on a private email account qualified as presidential records.

The filing says Navarro used a ProtonMail account to conduct some official business, and includes links to archived emails appearing to show as much. According to the Presidential Records Act, anyone who receives or sends a message that qualifies as a presidential record on a private account must send a copy to their official government account within 20 days.

The motion makes no mention of the ongoing investigation into Trump’s own handling of presidential records, which came to a head when the FBI searched his Mar-a-Lago estate in August and recovered around 100 classified documents.

The Justice Department says the National Archive Records Administration contacted Navarro in December 2021 and again in June 2022 requesting he turn over the missing records. In June, they provided suggested search keywords to find the relevant documents.

Navarro’s attorneys told the Justice Department as many as 1,700 emails fit that description. They said a closer review showed 200 to 250 could be presidential records.

The Justice Department argues that these facts are not in dispute and is asking the court to summarily rule that Navarro must comply.

Navarro has not been charged with a crime in this case. He is awaiting trial for a contempt of Congress charge for ignoring a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee.

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