“Forthwithier:” Peter Navarro Attempts to Pull a Fast One on His Incriminating Use of ProtonMail

Peter Navarro appears to be attempting to stall out a month-long order to avoid turning over ProtonMail content he has been trying to withhold from DOJ since last July.

In the guise of doing a more thorough search for materials he should have turned over under the Presidential Records Act, he has not turned over 200 to 250 already identified ProtonMail records that, last year, his attorney said would incriminate him if he turned them over.

I wrote about the lawsuit DOJ filed to force Navarro to turn over the records last August. In effect, after Navarro lawyered up last year and DOJ told them they were going to sue, Navarro’s lawyer went through his emails, identified 200 to 250 ProtonMail records that should have been turned over, but said he would not on the grounds that it would amount to self-incrimination. So DOJ sued to get them.

In March, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled for the government and ordered Navarro to turn over the documents he had already identified to be covered by the Presidential Record Act, “forthwith.”

ORDERED, that Defendant shall produce to Plaintiff the 200 to 250 documents that his counsel has identified as Presidential records forthwith.

In a status report submitted yesterday describing all the new files Navarro is looking for, DOJ included a footnote making it clear Navarro still has not complied with the March 9 order.

1 As of the filing of this status report, Plaintiff advises that it has not received any of the 200 to 250 documents that Defendant’s counsel has identified as Presidential records, nor has Defendant obtained a stay of this Court’s order from the D.C. Circuit.

Navarro has appealed and is asking for a stay of Judge KK’s order; his reply brief for that stay is due Monday. He has clearly ignored a pending order for over a month in hopes that the DC Circuit — a panel consisting of Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins, and Neomi Rao — will give allow him to delay turning over the 200 to 250 documents his lawyer has said include evidence of a crime.

44 replies
  1. Desidero says:

    How did Navarro pull off a 7 month delay on *written* emails as some kind of 1st Amendment right against self-incrimination?
    1A is about forced testimony (written or spoken), not existing physical evidence, no? Are diaries immune? (tell Cap Weinberger or Bush Sr, forget which back in Iran-Contra)

    • Critter7 says:

      The judge’s order describes the withheld emails as Presidential records. He is not being asked to speak against himself; he is being asked to turn over materials that are in his possession but he does not own.

        • Joeff53 says:

          The fifth amendment is implicated by the act of surrendering them. It would be testimony that he had them.

          I’m wondering why they sued him rather than subpoena/warrant.

          • CJCJCJCJ says:

            > I’m wondering why they sued him rather than subpoena/warrant.

            Issuing a subpoena or warrant to a Swiss email company with a penchant for being privacy-protective and encrypting everything is … unlikely … to get you what you’re looking for.

          • Ravenclaw says:

            Sorry, but that sounds like a bulls**t argument. If turning over evidence constituted a violation of the fifth amendment, then if, say, a police officer demanded that I hand over a gun I had recently used to shoot someone, and that forensics would show was the weapon involved, I would be within my rights to refuse. The fifth amendment precludes being forced to testify against oneself, not to conceal evidence. (Ready to be corrected by the legal minds here, but I’d want to see precedent cited and a plausible rationale.)

        • person1597 says:

          BREAKING: Peter Navarro denies being related to Dave Navarro from Jane’s Addiction.

          Peter from Reddit: “Not related to Dave — but a fan of his music.”

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          The anthem of a generation. A sad, lost generation consisting of me and my dead friends. Thank you.

    • Desidero says:

      “Navarro’s lawyer …identified 200 to 250 ProtonMail records he would not [turn over] on the grounds [of] *self-incrimination*. So DOJ sued.”
      Again, why 7-8 months for a judge to realize/rule emails aren’t withholdable for 5th Amendment purposes, only (afaik) forced written or oral testimony that might self-incriminate?
      This seems like a slam dunk request by the DoJ yet they lost much valuable time anyway.

  2. jecojeco says:

    This Bannon-esque character s/b charged w contempt, he’ll just jerk everyone around til thats on his plate, it’s his MO!

    Happy Easter everybody!

  3. Adam_09APR2023_1150h says:

    Id like to see those emails. If anyone internalized Trump’s repeated insistence you break the law for him, It’s him. And that Ziegler kid that worked for him.

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  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Why was Navarro using protonmail at all for official government business? Is it pre-approved and preloaded onto his approved government device? Or was he also using non-governmental devices and unapproved-by-government software to perform official government business?

    • Rugger_9 says:

      I’m sure it was either illegal or disallowed by federal rules, but rules are for the DFHs on the other side. Navarro has a war to run, and the ends justify the means for him.

      Perhaps the ProtonMail use means he’s heading toward a claim of executive privilege (already debunked by Judge Kotellar-Kelly) or similar privacy concerns. The use of an unofficial platform would be explained as his backchannel to Defendant-1 for frank advice. I am rather concerned about the panel makeup, since I fully expect Reo to back Trump and Navarro here and that means the other two must uphold the rule of law. An en banc appeal would likely follow regardless of who prevails.

      If Judge KK gets her way, she should sanction Navarro or jail his arse for contempt on flouting her order for seven months.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Navarro is past trying to assert EP. He has no right, title or interest in the PRA documents the govt has been so politely demanding. He’s got nothing left.

  5. Inspector Clouseau says:

    If somehow the proton email records disappear, would his lawyer be compelled to testify about what the contents are? At this point I have to wonder if he’s running the clock trying to negotiate a deal and was trying to see what happens to orange doofus and then play his cards based on that.

    • Charles Wolf says:

      Well, Navarro performed one of the most thorough Live-TV crime confessions in history when the blabbermouth went on MSNBC and described his “Greenbay Sweep” steal the election strategy to Ari Melber. So if/when he is ever indicted, his will be one of the more fun trials if he should get on the stand.

  6. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    It’s the 45th amendment, the one that says the 45th president is emperor for life and all laws affecting him and his minions are repealed. It was enacted telepathically.

  7. Savage Librarian says:


    Petey, Petey give me your answer do,
    We’re half crazy all for the fraud by you,
    We see how you use miscarriage
    of orders you disparage,
    From a catbird seat on how to cheat,
    You maniacal git, coup-glue.


    “First computer to sing – Daisy Bell”

    • RipNoLonger says:

      You just ruined one of my favorite ear-worms. But that’s ok – there are a lot more.

      I’d really like to get rid of some marketing jingles like “You can take the country out of Salem, but you cant take the yellow out of Pepsodent.”

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Ha! It’s built for durability and versatility. Coup-Glue is sticky and can be sung in rounds, substituting various names or initials. KT, KT (McFarland) has a closer consonance with Daisy and crazy. But DT, DT also works in terms of coup-glue adhesion. Adding a “y” or “ie” to a name helps to join various members.

  8. David F. Snyder says:

    I remember the days when a good “buy” sign was when Navarro said “sell” (and vice versa) . Seems like he’s retained that same knack of being right on any given day less often than a broken clock.

    Ask not for whom the gavel bangs, Peter.

    • RipNoLonger says:

      You mean being an apparently well-to-do older white gent doesn’t give him latitude to spout whatever nonsense he wants? Isn’t that what most university professors do? I almost think that if his epidermal persona were stripped away we’d see a rather puny sniveling idiot tugging on non-functional strings.

  9. e.a. foster says:

    I realize this is serious business, but I still can;t help laughing. looks good on Navarro. Might be best though that he turns over the documents.

    • timbozone says:

      I still think there’s a strong chance that he’s illegally deleted or destroyed some of the governmental records he’s refusing to turn over/return. He’s that type of guy.

  10. harpie says:

    Is there a list anywhere of the people implicated in #J6 who are known to have used proton mail?

    • Raven Eye says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of them used Proton Mail. A bunch of the prepper and high-capacity-magazine (to protect themselves against the government) crowd in my area use it.

      It’s probably on the join-up check-list along with the bubble sunglasses (you wear above the bill of your ball cap), the dark blue polo shirt, and the 5.11 tactical trousers.

      • theartistvvv says:

        I had never heard of “5.11 tactical trousers” so I googled ’em.

        The advertising images are hilarious – waist-down shots of models about to grapple or shoot.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Protonmail offers a good, private service for e-m, etc. But that’s what makes it so attractive to bad actors. That and it’s based in Switzerland. It’s domestic competitors offer so little privacy, they’re jokes.

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