The DOJ has filed a writ of replevin against Peter Navarro, forcing him to immediately return government property that he’s illegally possessing. This new “replevin” filing should be a real nightmare for Navarro, given that he’s previously shown he doesn’t even know what “redacted” means.
But in all seriousness, legally speaking, this filing is a big deal. For those thinking this means Navarro might have stolen classified documents, the DOJ filing instead refers to government emails, which the DOJ considers Navarro to be illegally possessing. That’s more boring than espionage, but it’s still clear Navarro is in real trouble.
For those demanding to know when the DOJ is finally going to indict Peter Navarro, let’s not forget the DOJ has already incited Peter Navarro for contempt, and he’s awaiting trial. The DOJ is clearly looking to bring more serious charges against him and his co-conspirators.
This DOJ filing also states that Navarro has previously demanded immunity in exchange for turning over his government emails, which the DOJ has obviously rejected. This suggests the emails incriminate Navarro rather severely, beyond the current contempt charge, and that Navarro is looking to avoid prison. But it sounds like the DOJ is just going to take the emails from Navarro by force, leaving him with no leverage, and only the option of flipping on Trump if he wants immunity.
“But what if Navarro just deletes the emails?” For one thing, deleted emails are rarely actually gone. And if he did delete the emails after he learned that the government wanted them, that would be felony obstruction, helping ensure Navarro ends up in prison. In such case Navarro would go down for obstruction and contempt – and those kinds of charges start to add up for a 73 year old guy. So if he has deleted them, then he’ll really have to flip on Trump to avoid prison.
This doesn’t mean Navarro will flip on Trump. He’d have to be an idiot not to flip, but on the other hand, he is an idiot. So we’ll see. But Navarro now has only two choices, flip on Trump or rot in prison. He’ll have to live with whatever choice he makes. If Navarro doesn’t flip, others will.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report