Some folks are asking why the DOJ waited so long to subpoena Peter Navarro for his electronic communications with Donald Trump, reasoning that perhaps he’s already destroyed them. But if you know how these things work, you know that this subpoena is a sign the DOJ likely has these communications already.
The DOJ can easily use subpoenas to obtain emails, texts, cellphone records from the provider companies, and in this case certainly already has. Short of any handwritten notes and such, there’s nothing the DOJ wouldn’t already have in this regard.
In such case, the point of the subpoena is so Navarro will refuse to comply, or alter or destroy his copies, or only turn over part of the communications and pretend it’s all of it. Then the DOJ will inform Navarro it’s got him nailed for obstruction.
Defendants like Navarro always think they want to go all the way to trial, on the small chance a jury will see it their way when it comes to their underlying crimes. But once they realize they’re nailed on obstruction, they realize they’re heading for prison and they’re more likely to flip.
This is how many steps ahead of the game federal investigators typically are. Yet wannabe legal pundits are painting the DOJ as being so naive as to give Navarro time to destroy evidence and get away with it all. This kind of punditry often reads like straight up fiction. The DOJ is not a bunch of naive damsels in distress, no matter how many Twitter pundits try to portray things that way. The only question here is whether Navarro is dumb enough to defy this subpoena.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report