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Peter Navarro’s Defiance Leads to a Four-Month ‘Time-Out’ in the Big House

Credit: USA Today

In a twist that sounds more like a plot from a political drama series than real life, Peter Navarro, a former trade adviser to Donald Trump, has found himself sentenced to a four-month stay in what some might call ‘The School of Hard Knocks’ – aka prison. His crime? Playing a game of ‘Hide and Seek’ with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who could give Judge Judy a run for her money, wasn’t having any of it. He described Navarro’s refusal to testify or hand over documents as a no-no, akin to thumbing his nose at a branch of government trying to unravel the knots of a harrowing attack on democracy.

Judge Mehta, acting a bit like a stern schoolteacher, told Navarro, “In all of this, even today, there is little acknowledgment of what your obligation is as an American to cooperate with Congress.” It’s like he was saying, “Listen, buddy, you can’t just skip homework and expect to pass the class.”

Navarro’s situation is a bit like being grounded for not doing your chores, except the stakes are a tad higher and the ‘grounding’ is in a federal prison. The judge wanted to make it crystal clear: “You are not a victim. You are not the object of a political prosecution. These are circumstances of your own making.” Ouch, talk about a reality check!

This legal tango has been going on for nearly two years, with twists and turns around executive privilege – think of it as a ‘who-said-what’ game, but with legal jargon. Navarro thought he was playing it safe by sticking to the ‘Trump told me to keep it zipped’ strategy, but Judge Mehta wasn’t buying it.

The judge, who seemed to be channeling his inner detective, scolded Navarro for trying to paint his prosecution as political theater. “Nancy Pelosi’s not responsible for your prosecution. Joe Biden’s not responsible for your prosecution,” he said. It’s like telling someone, “Nope, you can’t blame your brother for eating all the cookies when it was clearly you.”

Navarro, in a last-minute appeal to the court, tried to play the ‘confused card.’ “I’m a Harvard-educated gentleman, but the learning curve is steep,” he said, which sounds a bit like, “I went to a fancy school, but I still don’t get why I can’t ignore subpoenas.”

The judge didn’t immediately rule on Navarro’s request to stay free while appealing his conviction. If the request is denied, Navarro could be the first senior Trump White House aide to swap his suit for a prison jumpsuit.

Navarro’s not alone in this ‘Contempt of Congress’ club. Steve Bannon, another Trump ally, was also sentenced to four months last year for playing the same game of ‘subpoena dodgeball.’ Bannon’s still waiting on an appeal decision, like someone trying to skip ahead in a really long line.

Navarro, during his trial, painted a picture of Jan. 6 as one of the worst days of his life, a day when rational discussion was thrown out the window, much like a dramatic scene in a movie where everything goes wrong at the worst possible moment.

So, what’s the takeaway from Peter Navarro’s legal misadventure? Maybe it’s that when Congress sends you a subpoena, it’s not a ‘maybe later’ kind of request. It’s more of a ‘drop everything and deal with it now’ kind of deal. And if you don’t? Well, you might just get a time-out, courtesy of the federal government.