Jailed Trump Adviser Peter Navarro Says He Doesn’t Want a Pardon: ‘I Have No Regrets’

jailed trump adviser peter navarro says he doesn’t want a pardon: ‘i have no regrets’

Peter Navarro, a former top White House adviser to Donald Trump, isn’t interested in a pardon should “the boss” return to power.

“I will not give the Supreme Court any excuse to duck what is otherwise a landmark constitutional case regarding the separation of powers and executive privilege,” Navarro wrote to The Wall Street Journal from prison in Miami, referencing his appeal now before a federal appeals court. The 74-year-old is two months into a four-month sentence on a contempt of Congress conviction for stonewalling the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Perhaps no one has demonstrated loyalty to Trump like Navarro, the polarizing, wiry former White House China hawk and pandemic troubleshooter. And no one has quite paid the same price: Navarro is the first White House official in history to be imprisoned for contempt.

“I have no regrets,” said federal inmate No. 04370-510. “I didn’t choose this fight, this fight chose me.”

He might not want a pardon but Navarro will have a home in a new Trump administration if he wants it.

“I would absolutely have Peter back. This outrageous behavior by the Democrats should not have happened,” Trump said in a statement to the Journal. (Navarro said he wasn’t looking for a job but would consider one “if the boss needs me.”)

The Jan. 6 committee was made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, including former Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who lost a primary election in 2022 to a Trump-backed challenger. The panel wanted to speak with Navarro in part because he laid out a strategy in a book for getting then-Vice President Mike Pence to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

jailed trump adviser peter navarro says he doesn’t want a pardon: ‘i have no regrets’

Navarro is being held at Federal Correctional Institution Miami, which is for male inmates. Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega spent two decades there for drug trafficking. Lou Pearlman, the boy-band impresario turned swindler, died in 2016 while serving 25 years.

Navarro is in quarters for low-security offenders. Shortly before his surrender in March, when he showed up in all black with a green bomber jacket, CNN observed that inmates could hear the roar of lions from the nearby zoo.

“This is prison, plain and simple, no country for old men,” Navarro said. “Don’t fall into that pastoral zoo bull—.” He has various complaints, including what he says is a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates: “Protein MIA. Haven’t seen a fresh orange or grapefruit in the heart of citrus country since I got here.”

Navarro communicated with the Journal via a prison email system. A request for an in-person interview was denied. Others who have tried to interview Navarro in prison have also been rejected. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.), who hosts a podcast, said Bureau of Prisons director Colette Peters told him Navarro is “too notorious.”

Gaetz rejected that description, saying, “He’s like an elderly college professor.”

A BOP spokesman said the agency doesn’t discuss conversations with members of Congress. The agency said it provides a variety of healthy food options, including fresh fruit daily. Navarro, though, said inmates resort to buying better food in the commissary. “I’m a hot chili ramen noodle freak,” he said.

Navarro did get a recent personal visit from Donald Trump Jr. and the conservative publisher Sergio Gor as they prepare to release Navarro’s forthcoming book, “The New MAGA Deal.” It is billed as an unofficial guide to “Make America Great Again” policies Trump could pursue in a second term, ranging from tougher trade practices and border security to shaking up the leadership ranks at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department, long viewed with contempt by Trump.

The book is timed for release around the GOP convention, which would already be under way when Navarro is slated to be released from prison July 17, two days after his 75th birthday.

That day he plans to fly with his fiancée to Milwaukee for a book signing.

If given a chance to speak at the convention—which would deliver the kind of dramatic moment Trump covets—Navarro plans to reflect on his plight and the various prosecutions facing Trump. “Something like, ‘If they can come for me—and they surely did—they can come for you,’ ” he said.

He said he and Trump don’t seek retribution, but added accountability is needed for those who have been investigating and prosecuting Trump. He warned that those “helping to orchestrate this mockery of our justice system should keep their emails, phone messages, and other correspondence when the Trump FBI and DOJ come a-calling.”

jailed trump adviser peter navarro says he doesn’t want a pardon: ‘i have no regrets’

A Harvard-educated economist who once ran for Congress as a Democrat, Navarro was a business professor in California when he got a call in fall 2015 from the Trump team. An aide heard him talking about China on the radio. At the time, the campaign was light on experts, and Trump wanted to make an aggressive stance on China a key message to voters.

Navarro joined the administration on Inauguration Day and quickly established himself as a polarizing figure in both style and substance, railing against “globalist” advisers Trump also brought in. Rivals, including some who weren’t as hawkish on trade, blocked Navarro from key meetings, and aides were instructed to call the chief of staff whenever he got close to the Oval Office, former White House officials have said.

Navarro persisted, helping animate the tough-on-China posture that led to Trump’s trade war and heavy tariffs. His role included work to boost domestic manufacturing and during the pandemic, Navarro helped marshal the government response. Trump referred to him as “my Peter” and would summon him to scratch a populist itch.

“All those people who ripped on Peter should look at what Joe Biden has done. He’s trying to out-Trump Trump on tariffs,” Steve Bannon, another former White House adviser, said in an interview, referring to the Democratic president’s new levies on Chinese electric vehicles. Biden has largely kept in place Trump’s China policies.

Bannon, too, was found guilty of contempt of Congress and sentenced to four months in prison but remains free as he appeals. He said of his jailed counterpart, “He’s a bigger name now than when he went in. He’s a bantam rooster that won’t back down.”

A typical day in prison, Navarro said, involves rising before dawn, having breakfast and walking a mile around the track to watch the sunrise before work in the law library. Lunch is followed by more work, then dinner at 4:45 p.m., and more exercise in the yard. Navarro has found ways to get his message out, penning opinion pieces for The Washington Times.

He sleeps in a dorm pod with about 50 other inmates. Covid is going around, he said, meaning a lot of coughing amid the snoring—with “no MyPillows in sight,” referring to the pillow manufactured by fellow Trump loyalist Mike Lindell. When time permits, Navarro works on his appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

As he logs in the days, Navarro said supporters have flooded him with mail.

“There is so much more swamp to be drained than we ever thought. Rest up!” wrote a man from Castaic, Calif., according to Navarro. Another, Navarro said, came from Three Rivers, Mich.: “We are pulling for you. Lift weights. Don’t get a prison TAT…unless it’s a MAGA.”

Write to Alex Leary at [email protected]

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