Ex-Trump aide sued by government for his White House emails

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Peter Navarro, the oft-combative former Trump adviser already facing a fall trial on charges of contempt of Congress, was sued by the government on Wednesday over his refusal to turn over private emails he allegedly used to conduct White House business during the Trump administration.

Navarro, according to the court papers filed by the Justice Department on behalf of the National Archives, “has refused to return any Presidential records that he retained absent a grant of immunity for the act of returning such documents.”

The lawsuit charges the economic adviser “is wrongfully retaining Presidential records that are the property of the United States, and which constitute part of the permanent historical record of the prior administration.”

A lawyer for Navarro did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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The court filing says the controversy surrounding Navarro’s emails began when a congressional committee reviewing how the government handled the coronavirus pandemic discovered that Navarro, who often played an outsize role in the Trump White House’s public discussion of the pandemic response, had used a private email account to conduct government work. From the National Archives’ point of view, those emails were official government records.

After more than a month of discussions about the subject with government lawyers, Navarro’s attorney told officials that they estimated between 200 and 250 documents could be considered presidential records.

Separately, Navarro has sparred repeatedly with government officials since his arrest in June on charges of contempt of Congress for allegedly refusing to provide testimony or documents to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

Navarro publicly denounced the agents who arrested him, and is due back in short next week as he prepares for a November trial on contempt charges. Another former Trump adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, was convicted last month in a similar case.

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