Former Trump administration official Peter Navarro called the FBI agents who arrested him “Nazis,” according to Justice Department documents filed Thursday in court accusing Navarro of repeatedly lying about the conditions of his arrest.
FBI agents arrested Navarro at Reagan National Airport last Friday on a pair of misdemeanor charges that he acted in contempt of Congress by defying a subpoena from the Jan. 6 House select committee.
Since his arrest, Navarro has been on a media tear, accusing the FBI of denying him a chance to call a lawyer and depriving him of food and water. But the Justice Department says all of those claims are false, and it appended a summary of the circumstances of Navarro’s arrest on an FBI 302 report written by the two agents who arrested him, Walter Giardina and Sebastian Gardner.
The government filing Thursday seems to mock Navarro’s priorities. It says FBI agents offered to contact an attorney for Navarro, but he wanted to use his phone to let a media outlet know he was likely to miss a scheduled TV interview.
When Navarro was offered a chance to call an attorney, according to the FBI agents, the defendant noted that he was preparing to proceed without one.
“SA Giardina asked, ‘do you have an attorney you’d like to call? What is the name of your attorney?’” the FBI report says.
According to the report, Navarro replied: “I’m supposed to be on live television tonight. I’d like to call the producer and tell him I’m not going to be there. Can I have my phone?”
“NAVARRO made statements to the effect that the arresting agents were ‘kind Nazis’ and ‘how could you live with yourselves?’” the report adds.
Navarro, in an email, said he’d made “several requests” to call for legal advice when he was arrested.
“This was denied and my phone was confiscated,” he said.
While some of Navarro’s allies have claimed he was pulled off an airplane, the report says he was intercepted by the FBI in a jetway at the airport as he prepared to board an American Airlines commuter flight bound for Nashville.
Navarro has also claimed that he was shackled after his arrest. The FBI report mentions handcuffs but no shackles, nor does it address any security practices he might have encountered after he was handed over to deputy U.S. marshals at the courthouse in Washington last Friday.
The Justice Department’s filing came a day after the department urged the judge in Navarro’s case, Amit Mehta, to quickly enter a “protective order” preventing Navarro from disseminating evidence provided to him by prosecutors. Navarro is due in court to be arraigned on the charges on June 17, but he has requested a 45-day delay — citing his effort to retain an attorney and to litigate a civil lawsuit against the department and the Jan. 6 select committee. The department said there was no legal basis to delay speedy-trial obligations to accommodate a civil lawsuit.
The department is urging Mehta to reject this request, noting that Navarro still has a week to obtain counsel and that his request for a delay would be disruptive to the case.
The FBI’s summary of Navarro’s arrest provides more details about the manner in which he was taken into custody. Navarro, who was accompanied by an unidentified individual, was in the jetway when he was taken into custody at 11:14 a.m., according to the agents. After he was led down the jetway steps, he was handcuffed and his wallet, cellphone and pen were taken and put in a manila envelope, the report indicates.
Navarro was taken to the FBI’s Washington Field Office for processing, including fingerprinting and a DNA sample, the report says.
After Navarro complained that his handcuffs were causing shoulder pain, they were replaced with a second set and loosened, which the agents said relieved Navarro’s discomfort. He initially rejected an offer of food, according to the summary, but asked for some at 12:08 p.m. and was given chocolate, nuts and dried fruit. He was later asked whether he wanted anything else to eat and declined, the report says.