Trump advisor smacked down by appeals court over demand to keep hundreds of government documents

Trump advisor smacked down by appeals court over demand to keep hundreds of government documents
Peter Navarro, Image via Consolidated News Photos/Shutterstock

Former Trump White House trade adviser Peter Navarro's bid to hold onto hundreds of government documents has been rejected by a federal appeals court, POLITICO reported on Wednesday.

'There is no public interest in Navarro's retention of the records, and Congress has recognized that the public has an interest in the Nation's possession and retention of Presidential records,' the three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in a unanimous two-page order," reported Kyle Cheney. "The Justice Department sued Navarro last year, seeking to reclaim hundreds of records — contained in Navarro’s personal ProtonMail account — that the government said should have been returned to the National Archives after the Trump administration came to an end in January 2021."

"Navarro acknowledged that at least 200 to 250 records in his possession belong to the government, but he contended that no mechanism exists to enforce that requirement — and that doing so might violate his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejected that claim, ordering Navarro to promptly return the records he had identified as belonging to the government," said the report. "But Navarro appealed the decision, rejecting the notion that the Justice Department had any legitimate mechanism to force him to return the records. And he urged the court to stay Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling while his appeal was pending. But the appeals court panel ... rejected Navarro's stay request."

Among the judges who rejected Navarro's claim was Neomi Rao, a hard-right Donald Trump appointee who holds the seat once occupied by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The other two judges on the panel, Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins, are appointees of President Barack Obama.

In addition to the documents dispute, Navarro faces a criminal charge of contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with House investigators in the January 6 probe that concluded at the end of last year.

A federal judge put Navarro's trial on hold temporarily in January. He faces up to a year in jail if convicted of the offense.

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