Peter Navarro Thinks He’s Better than the 800 Other January 6 Defendants

An hour ago, Peter Navarro had his first appearance before a very patient Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui, represented for the hearing by Public Defender Ubong Akpan.

Here’s  of my live thread the hilarity that occurred.

I’ll spare you the “legal analysis.”

The key details that he blurted out which will (predictably) hurt his case are that he claims DOJ charged him to preempt his civil suit. Then he admitted talking to one of the FBI Agents who arrested him, last week, before he filed his civil suit. Basically, he admitted what he accused the government of.

He claims he’s representing himself, but he is outraged that the government didn’t call some lawyer before they arrested him.

He’s outraged that he was arrested at an airplane gate rather than quietly at his home which–he says–is right next door to the FBI.

The most offensive part of it all, though, is that Peter Navarro thinks he should be treated better than the 800-plus other January 6 defendants, the plurality of whom, like him, face only misdemeanor charges because of who he is. He thinks standard release conditions should be waived (and indeed, the passport surrender was waived) because he worked in the White House.

Peter Navarro thinks he’s better than the 800 other people who helped to rile up. Peter Navarro thinks he should get special treatment because he did the riling up rather than responding to it.

Peter Navarro demands better treatment because he is, according to him, better, more important, more innocent, than those 800 other January 6 defendants.

103 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    Sounds like Navarro is having a truly terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day,

    But some days are like that.
    Even for guys who worked in the White House.

    [with apologies to the infinitely put-upon Alexander]

    • BobCon says:

      The nice thing about that book was that Mom was there to tell Alexander some days are like that, and you could tell despite the eye rolling that she was going to do her best the next morning to make things start out OK.

      In MAGA world, people like Navarro and Durham and all the rest find out they have no mothers. They are just bags of meat to the GOP and when their organs have been harvested, their husks get thrown to the dogs.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      I had to look up the “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” bit. When you said Alexander, I thought you were referring to Ali Alexander and that he had some legal woes of which I had not yet heard. I started tuning out pop culture in the 90’s.

  2. Frank Farricker says:

    I’m terribly excited for a little comic relief in the ebb and flow of our current discourse. I’m assuming Navarro is not as clued in as he thinks he is, so none of the standard blocking and tackling from the coup team will take place to save and muzzle this man. Consequently, I expect, he will continue to offer comedic gems as he desperately witnesses the tether get cut off and he begins to float off into obscurity.

    • eyesoars says:

      Crimes might have consequences?! Even though he publicly wrote all about them? Isn’t his GOP membership-and-get-out-of-jail-free card fully paid up?
      His lawyer is a fool.

        • Peterr says:

          Now now, bmaz.

          He is acting as his own lawyer, and therefore his lawyer *is* indeed a fool.

          • P J Evans says:

            His first filing wasn’t “pro se”, it was “ro se”. That’s the one the court is making him do over, for good reasons. Like some of the response is in the wrong place, much of it is irrelevant, and he’s lucky the judge is being nice to him.

    • Maria says:

      No, as he begins hs slow descent to the hell of an old prison cell! 3 hots and a cot!…whoops, sorry….it
      s only one hot an da cot now…2 are not hot…they are expeired C rats from Vietnam era~ Yummy! Don’t worry Peter peter punkin eater, somebody will throw you a bone every now an then!

      [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Maria” or “Marie.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

  3. Harry Eagar says:

    Public defender? Is he destitute? I thought he was the world’s greatest economic expert.

    • Drew says:

      I’m pretty sure this was only for this initial appearance. He doesn’t have a lawyer and the court wants to make sure he has good legal advice (also the prosecution wants that, they don’t want to have anything judged as tainted by violation of his rights)

      Quite a bit was made of encouraging him to get a lawyer before his next appearance, so this one isn’t continuing. Some people who have pretty substantial assets end up with public defenders-Michael Avenatti for instance–but sometimes they have to pay part, perhaps all the cost.

      • FL Resister says:

        Navarro and Giuliani are tragicomic.
        Too bad there’s so much trauma involved.
        But they do it to themselves.

  4. EdwardB says:

    There’s a saying attributed to Lincoln: A man who represents himself in court has a fool for a lawyer and a jackass for a client.

    • Wajim says:

      Beat me to it, as usual, Punaise. Precisely what I was thinking. As as semi-pasty (hey, it’s not Summer yet!) old white guy with privileges, I can cop to that status (and I know you see what I did there) as a fact, even as a working-class schlub. And now I’m waiting for your Navarro limerick . . .

      • vvv says:

        That may be the funniest I’ve seen, no it *is* the funniest thing I’ve seen, since Ari M’s interview with that comedic genius, Navarro, but also in the last week, at least. Atho’ Kellyanne’s tap dances are pretty funny, also, and I always appreciate the comedic stylings of Jim Jordan …

    • Matthew Harris says:

      I was thinking the same thing—in fact, I was thinking of a story by the great Native American writer Sherman Alexie. In the story, a native youth goes to a new, predominantly white and middle class school. Some of the “tough guys” make some threats in a ritual way, and the native youth, coming from a tougher background, just swings at them, and they act in astonishment, because for them “I’ll kick your ass” or whatever was just showmanship.

      And this is what a lot of the Capitol Rioters and their ilk seem like to me—people who want to be tough but also want to hold “its just a prank” in reserve.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Like many Trumpistas, for a guy who received a doctorate in economics from Harvard, Pete Navarro is dumb as a post. A guy with his resume should have been able to line up a competent lawyer in half a day. Now it will take longer and be more expensive. For starters, Navarro started representing himself, which is really stupid. And Trump’s circle is known for acting like Trump: being arrogant, foaming at the mouth, not taking advice, and endlessly arguing about the bill, if they pay it at all. That and the requirement that they play impoverished whining victim.

    Most of the Navarro conduct at issue is also likely to have nothing to do with his day job as US trade advisor. It will have to do with his role as political advisor, including his personal involvement in the coup. Poor Pete deserves every problem he has willingly stepped into.

    • Jonathan says:

      Navarro also said on Melber’s show, after citing his profession as an economist, [paraphrasing here] that the economy was in something like the worst shape in American history. Quite a claim with the most recent jobs report listing a 3.6% unemployment rate. In the fact based universe, however, unemployment hit 14.7% in April 2020 when Navarro was advising Trump — not to mention, 25% during the Great Depression.

      But maybe Republicans think that high unemployment and strong employer bargaining power make for a good economy…

      • Rayne says:

        Sure sounds like Navarro is doing nothing but ongoing propaganda for Team Trump than actual economics or even covering his own butt when it comes to legal exposure.

    • Greg Hunter says:

      Economics degrees should be issued through the Harvard Divinity School. It is not a science as science edges closer to a truth while economist preach the same old message generation after generation they way christian sect leaders do.

    • BobCon says:

      He’s transparently stupid, but it’s creepy how popular he has been with the DC press. Meet the Press and the rest couldn’t get enough of him.

      It was bad enough that his economic views aren’t worth the screentime, but he was out front from the start blowing smoke on Covid, with ridiculous claims from the beginning such as pretending there was no PPE shortage.

      The press is addicted to the format of interview segments, and insists on handing over airtime to rightwing blowhards who get 95% of the segment to lie with the remaining 5% going to Chuck “what’s a followup?” Todd spending the rest of the time with tepid questions.

      • P J Evans says:

        Even worse when they’re doing interviews with someone talking about stuff way outside their own field. (Especially when said interviewee is claiming that having a PhD in one field somehow makes them an expert in others.)

        • BobCon says:

          It’s a bad sign when producers and editors indicate that they think their own reporters are somehow less able to provide informative, compelling content than people like Navarro or Turley or other stooges.

          Although I think a lot of it comes down to sickening inertia in the news business. They do these interviews because that’s what they’ve done since the days of Lucky Strikes ads.

        • vvv says:

          The thing is Navarro is presentable, with a good voice, articulate, and appears intelligent and authoritative and to passionately believe the dreck he so bombastically spews – perfect for online “news” clips and interviews.

            • gmoke says:

              Navarro is a representative product of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. You can see what it can do. I wonder when the Kennedy School will give him a fellowship like the one they gave Sean Spicer.

              • P J Evans says:

                They used to be better than that. But looking at his degrees: masters in public administration (which, I was told, was in the 70s and 80s teaching that public libraries were a frill because only students need libraries), and PhD in something-or-other.

                • MB says:

                  PhD in Economics. Though his reputation pre-Trump was that his economic views were as a very shrill anti-China hawk.

            • BobCon says:

              Even the most generous view of him can’t say he’s better than the weekend substitute weatherman on Channel 6 in Topeka about explaining how thunderstorms work. There are a million just as coherent as him, and many much better.

              People in the political press have completely lost any sense of what makes someone good at explaining policy on their shows both from a level of substance and from simple competence.

    • Hug h says:

      “Strange as it may seem, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and formal education positively fortifies it.”
      -Stephen Vizinczey

  6. Barb says:

    I think you mean ‘he’ helped rile up in this second to last paragraph? “Peter Navarro thinks he’s better than the 800 other people who helped to rile up.”

  7. Tom says:

    “You can’t do this to me, I’m an Englishman!” I’m surprised Navarro didn’t claim elder abuse.

    • Opiwan says:

      Considering his whole “White House repressing me!” shtick is a very Holy Grail-ish “Well, I didn’t vote for you!” derivative, I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries that Englishman line at his next hearing.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s inner circle thought manipulating Susan Collins to vote for Brett Kavanaugh for the Supremes was like taking out a “cheap date.” The Trump teams misogyny is ubiquitous, so the demeaning reference for a sitting US Senator is hardly a surprise. But how much work did that really require, for any of Trump’s three appointments?

    • d4v1d says:

      Why do we think the Catholic senator from a rural state wasn’t in on the whole nod nod wink wink thing? Lordy I hope there are tapes of her private conversation with Kavanaugh, but my opinion is her work now done, she can stop being ‘concerned’ and retire on the millions she has ‘earned’ along the way.

    • Bobster33 says:

      She’s been a reliable cheap date for the Republicans since she was elected. When push comes to shove, she votes with Mitch. I am just surprised that she was not more “concerned.”

    • Rayne says:

      Should we take bets on the likelihood that 1) Navarro is the cold open subject, and 2) whether his character is alone or not? I’ve cracked up every time I look at Navarro’s interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber because Ari’s face is just Oh-My-Fucking-God-You’re-An-Idiot and Navarro keeps plowing on.

    • Peterr says:

      No, it just means that the writers have to work a little harder.

      Per Plutarch, Julius Caesar was captured by pirates and was appalled at the low ransom they put on his head. He told them (in essence), “Don’t you know who I am? I’m worth double what you’re asking.” While his friends were finding the funds to free him, Caesar spent his time ordering his captors around as if he were in charge and not them. They went along with it, seeing it as a colossal joke, especially when he told them he would have the lot of them crucified. After his friends paid the ransom and Caesar was taken from the secret pirate base and released elsewhere, Caesar made his way back, captured the pirates, and had them crucified.

      Navarro thinks, all evidence to the contrary, that he is Caesar. I could see a skit where Navarro is back in the days of Caesar, shortly after Caesar got his revenge on the pirates. Navarro gets captured, gets his ransom doubled, struts around insulting the pirates, and then . . . nothing. The ancient equivalent of “Sorry, new phone. Who dis?” Finally, in frustration, the pirates put Navarro on a raft and tell him to go away.

      • Tom says:

        Or have a character wheeled out dramatically to the sound of ominous music, all masked and shackled like Hannibal Lecter, only to have him revealed as Peter Navarro mouthing off non-stop and repeatedly doing that hand-chopping gesture of his. Or how about a version of The Odd Couple with Peter Navarro as Felix Unger and Steve Bannon as Oscar Madison.

      • elcajon64 says:

        “The Ransom of Red Chief” wherein the handlers are competent and Red Chief doesn’t know it.

      • Spocko says:

        Great scenario!
        The reason we MUST prosecute Trump, and the Insurrection management, is that if we don’t they will come. Back. But of course you know that. Just wanted to compliment your post.

  9. What Constitution? says:

    I particularly enjoyed the part where Navarro complained that he was being treated “like a common criminal”. Of course, it’s the “common” part he objected to, kind of like Alan Rickman reacting to being called a “common thief” in Die Hard…..
    I mean, this guy has considered himself exempt from the rules of civilized society for one hell of a long time, and they’re arresting him for something as banal as ignoring a congressional subpoena when he’s been organizing a coup for well over a year with a stated intent to do it better next time? Who does this mere Federal Magistrate think he is?

  10. punaise says:

    Speaking of dim bulbs, Digby has a nice rundown on Kevin McCarthy – but it’s really an indictment of the media.

    Of course McCarthy is a dolt. Anyone who has observed him in public can see that. And it’s not an act like Oxford educated Louisiana Senator John Kennedy’s. He’s dumb, that’s obvious.

    But this piece is supposedly calling out Reporters for not being honest about it when this reporters isn’t being honest about by making it a piece about journalism instead of just Kevin McCarthy being dumb. So he’s actually doing exactly what he accuses them of doing.

  11. wetzel says:

    There is this video from MSNBC of Navarro talking to reporters outside the courthouse. It’s just word salad. He might as well be talking about how the Masons are having his car booted. It is completely bananas.

    Katie Benner at NY Times I thought did a good job in the spot after the Navarro footage to distinguish this referral from the main DOJ investigation.

    • Peterr says:

      Prior to that, the various networks had set up the standard array of microphones to encourage Navarro to come talk to them. While they were waiting, MSNBC showed a live camera shot of the scene (video without sound, getting both the doorway and the microphones in the shot) while the folks in the studio were talking about Navarro.

      It was hilarious to watch what felt like a silent movie (albeit in color). Ordinary folks came out of the courthouse — jurors who had been dismissed? people whose cases were continued or dismissed? — and then they saw the microphones. Some were clueless, and others put their heads down and quickly left. But there was one guy who came out, saw the microphones, got a big grin on his face and came up to the mics to pretend to make a statement. Whatever he was saying, a couple of the camera and sound crew came into the shot and they were laughing as well.

      • Spocko says:

        That is hilarious. Navarro is the kind of person who thinks he is smarter about everything just because he know something in one area. I knew a lot of people like that in Silicon Valley.

      • jdmckay says:

        “Who are these people?” Navarro asked during his court appearance on Friday. “This is not America. I mean, I was a distinguished public servant for four years and nobody ever questioned my ethics. And they’re treating me in this fashion.”

        geezus… where to begin with that one. :(

        • P J Evans says:

          I’d start with “distinguished public servant”. He wasn’t serving the public with his lies.

        • Opiwan says:

          He wasn’t even “distinguished” compared to the others in public office at the time. Many, many of them were better liars and bloviators than he was, and continues to be.

    • eyesoars says:

      Wow! Navarro is an utter jackass. He deserves 30 days in jail just for that clueless ego display.

  12. jdmckay says:

    Since he appears a little broke, maybe “Pete” can hit up Sebastian Gorka for pills to help with what I am sure is an increasing pain in the neck. Maybe the pillow guy too, help him sleep at night. RWNJ solutions for RWNJ’s.

    • Thomas says:

      Wait, you are running low on money? No problem! I can fix you up.
      Just opt in on my website, grifter . com, and I’ll clean out your bank account!
      You’ll get a fresh start, and I PROMISE you are going to like the cash flow when I’m done.
      Everyone loves to be rolled by me.

      [FYI your faux link was ‘broken’ with blank spaces; the security algorithm saw it as a threat, pulling your comment to auto-mod. I can’t blame it. /~Rayne]

  13. Scott Church says:

    There was this old creep named Navarro
    The Judge said “Bring a lawyer tomorrow”
    Airline ticket – one way
    FBI made him pay
    Now his sweep’s surely bringing him sorrow..

  14. !? says:

    EW, on Twitter, quotes PN: “OLC says I have absolute testimonial immunity.” This would be interesting if Navarro wasn’t a pathological liar, on the other hand the entitlement permeating the Trump administration makes it possible OLC did say it.

      • Rayne says:

        He probably did get something from OLC, perhaps not directly, which said that advisors to the president have some immunity from congressional demands for testimony (see, c. 1999 then-AG Reno memo referencing immunity). BUT…what Congress has requested isn’t immune if he’s already been blabbing about it, written about it, and is related to his role in a criminal conspiracy (hello, United States v Nixon, no absolute unqualified executive privilege).

        It’s one more question Congress should ask him if Navarro ever sits his ass in front of the J6 committee: who in OLC told him he was immune and how did the question of his immunity come about?

        • P J Evans says:

          That *would* be interesting, indeed. Put a camera there, and see if that encourages him to run his mouth. (It doesn’t even have to be on.)

  15. James Joyce says:

    Cuffed, then stuffed.
    About time..

    A sealed indictment….

    At least Peter will see a trier of fact, unlike George.

    Due Process and Equal Protection has been under assault since it’s inception.

    Navarro is not above the law and was brilliant enough to indict himself with evidence recorded.


    “The beginning, of the beginning of the end.”

    Something like that..

    A select house or senate committee’s authority cannot be questioned as a matter of law.


    Thanks Grand Jury


    Obstruction does not work, Mr. Sinclair..

    Teapots, Dome and Oil Barrels 🛢, never mind the complete energy servitude Dred Scott?

    What a pathetic joke we have here..

    Moderation ?

    Good 👋

  16. biff murphy says:

    His press conference outside the court was just a “buy my book” bs session for ole Pete.

    “his home which–he says–is right next door to the FBI”
    Maybe someone can explain to him why he wasn’t was arrested at home.
    Because he was at the airport…

  17. Ddub says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if the J6 Committee has more insights into the criminal exposure of Navarro. He may make an good flipper, we know he can sing. Or wail, more to the point.

  18. grennan says:

    The guy to play him on SNL would be alum Will Heider (Stephon)…can do that one-eye crazy look.

    Would it be too snarky to suggest that his residence(s) be searched? Navarro seems like the type to “borrow” rare books, maps, stuff from the White House, stuff from Harvard (justifying on the grounds that nobody knew or appreciated things just collecting dust). A lifetime hoard of government office supplies.

    Also, a prime candidate for travel and expense account audits, as well as scrutiny of franking, postage and shipping service misuse.

    Someone who seems to have trouble distinguishing between the grand juries who are interested in him is also likely to be careless enough to misuse other government resources (phone, secretarial time, copies, ????) for personal/insurrection purposes.

  19. @pwrchip says:

    LOL that, Navarro, as he stepped out of the courthouse, he came close to tears, but the funniest thing I heard from his whining was when he threw in a plug for his book. That came close to making me spill my afternoon cognac.
    I’m still waiting for the video showing him being walked through the airport in handcuffs.

    • MB says:

      I’ve been scouring the net for the perp-walk, frog-march photos every day but they don’t seem to exist. And the book plug was a bald-faced plea to defray upcoming legal expenses. The guy can’t go pro se much longer…

      • bmaz says:

        People that clamor for “perp walks” and “frog marches” are beyond misguided. It is sick. Justice is NOT about that.

        • Thomas says:

          Perp walks, frog marches, mug shots, news video of defendants walking with difficulty in shackles
          I’ll take those as a down payment on justice.
          Why not? How often do they do that to people?
          These Trumpsters are arrogant, in your face criminals and sneering gaslighters on top of it.
          Give the people what they want.

      • Rayne says:

        I’d really like to know why a guy who was a Trump White House advisor and a UC-Irvine faculty member for 20 years is so damned concerned about his personal finances. His wife of 18 years filed for divorce in 2018 which was finalized in 2020; I wonder if he is still paying for legal expenses after that.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Econ professors are traditionally among the most highly paid faculty members. Funny that Navarro should be so bad at managing money. Maybe it’s his personality.

          • P J Evans says:

            Judging by how little he seems to know about real-world economics, he *could* be going broke. (Also, he probably overbought his real estate.)

          • grennan says:

            Does he seem like the type to let a nice safe teachers/state employees retirement fund accumulate in place?

            Or take investment advice from anybody reputable?

            Re econ professors…the macroeconomics czar at the U. of Wisconsin in the early 70s had more than 3k students (sic) every semester in Econ 103. Forty or more sections. He thus sold at least 5,000 copies of his textbook every year…not to mention any used by other schools.

            Now that’s a personal economic powerhouse.

            • P J Evans says:

              I took it at a community college. The instructor spent much of the first section explaining his totally-not-on-a-curve grading method. Which, AFAICT, was a curve, TYVM. (I got a good grade. I sat in the back and didn’t may much attention to either him *or* the text.)

  20. Badger Robert says:

    I am following Ms. Wheeler’s coverage. But I am also wondering why Mr. Navarro and the others have not been charged with seditious conspiracy.

    • MB says:

      The optimistic speculation going around is that Meadows and Scavino may very well be, hence why their contempt indictments were passed over. Navarro may be just distant enough from inner circle doings for him to be off the hook for that. (Makes no sense to me, however).

    • Rayne says:

      First, Navarro and Bannon were charged by DOJ with 2 USC 192 – Contempt of Congress for their refusal to comply with House J6 Committee’s subpoenas after the committee made a referral to DOJ. These two may yet be subject to additional criminal referrals by the committee or indicted directly by the DOJ as part of its own investigation.

      Second, the committee is performing an investigation as part of their legislative oversight. They do not do criminal investigations. However they can make criminal referrals and chances are good referrals of other co-conspirators will happen after this week’s hearings. Whether the referrals by the House or the DOJ itself will include seditious conspiracy (18 USC 2384) charges isn’t yet known but if multiple Oath Keepers were charged with 18 USC 2384 as well as 18 USC 1512 and 372, someone at a higher level will likely be charged as well for the same assuming they negotiated what Oath Keepers roles were on January 6.

      In short, additional charges are coming.

  21. Leoghann says:

    That Navarro was so obviously upset about being arrested tells me that he thought being part of the Orange Squad actually made him untouchable.

    But his unhinged rambling about things he had made up or knew nothing about really reminded me of Lin Wood or Mike Lindell. His deep, rolling voice only makes his gibberish intelligible. There’s no pertinence there.

    • Rayne says:

      Navarro’s book and his frequent appearances in media combined with this melodramatic reaction to indictment and arrest remind me a lot of Carter Page’s frenetic tattoo “dodgy dossier” everywhere he went. As if the real point is disinformation by repetition. Is Navarro’s book really an opportunity to pay him for disinfo appearances?

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