Obama-appointed federal judge has questions about FBI’s arrest of former Trump advisor: ‘It is curious’

Even the Obama-appointed U.S. District Court judge who is hearing the case against former White House adviser to then-President Donald Trump, Peter Navarro, found the FBI’s decision to publicly arrest the 73-year-old man in a crowded D.C. airport and haul him out in shackles “curious.”

“It is curious… at a minimum why the government treated Mr. Navarro’s arrest in the way it did,” Judge Amit Mehta said at a Friday hearing in Navarro’s case. “It is a federal crime, but it is not a violent crime.”

Navarro appeared in the Washington D.C. courtroom flanked by two attorneys, Politico reported, when, at the very outset of the case, the judge made his thoughts known.

A former federal defender, Mehta was puzzled by the prosecutors’ decision to deny Navarro the opportunity to turn himself in at an FBI office, as it is often given to white-collar defendants.

“It’s a surprise to me that self-surrender was not offered,” he said, though he stopped short of asking the prosecution to explain their logic.

According to prosecutors, Navarro’s telling of his arrest was riddled with “false statements.” Furthermore, they have contended, Navarro is a publicity seeker.

“Prosecutors have previously contended that Navarro made ‘numerous false statements’ about his arrest and that his first request to use the phone that day was not to speak with a lawyer, but to call a TV producer about a scheduled interview,” Politico writes.

Navarro attorney John Rowley, however, pointed to the government’s decision not to prosecute former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino for doing exactly what Navarro did — ignore the Jan. 6 subpoenas —  and told the judge that, in light of that and the treatment of Navarro by the FBI, there appears to be “animus” towards Navarro from the prosecution team.

Rowley also noted President Joe Biden’s comments in which he stated that anyone who defies the Jan. 6 Committee should be prosecuted and said that Biden’s remarks may have influenced the prosecutions’ decisions.

Navarro’s lawyers argued that the prosecution is at odds with decades of DOJ legal opinions regarding executive privilege and the ability of Congress to demand from White House officials testimony or records.

“This is the first time in our nation’s 250-year history that a senior advisor to a president has been criminally charged for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena,” Rowley told reporters gathered outside the courthouse following the hearing.

Asked fellow Navarro defense attorney John Irving, “The Justice Department… has longstanding policies about not prosecuting someone criminally for this kind of situation, so I wonder, what changed?”

“We intend to find out,” he added.

As BizPac Review reported, following his arrest in June, Navarro compared the FBI tactics to those historically employed by brutal communist regimes.

“They responded with effectively the same kind of thing you’d see in Stalin’s Russia or the Chinese Communist Party,” he stated on the steps of the courthouse.

Navarro, too, noted the difference in the treatment of Meadow and Scavino compared to how he and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon have been hounded.

“I note interestingly for the record,” he said, “the only two people that have been indicted on criminal charges are me and Steve Bannon.”

The trial of Steve Bannon is scheduled to start on July 18 and Navarro’s will begin on November 17.


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