According to court documents filed on Wednesday (August 3), the Department of Justice is suing Peter Navarro for emails he sent while he was former President Donald Trump’s trade advisor, stating that he used a non-administration email account while working at the White House. The filing also claims Navarro was “wrongfully retaining” communications during this time.
The filing alleges: “While serving in the White House, Mr. Navarro used at least one non-official email account — an account hosted by the non-official service ProtonMail — to send and receive messages constituting Presidential records.”
The filing also claims Navarro failed to “copy each email or message constituting Presidential records” received through the non-administration account to his “official government email account.”
The filing substantiates its request, noting that non-official email correspondence used to carry out official duties is considered presidential records, requiring the user to forward these messages to official accounts in 20 days.
When the President leaves office, the National Archives and Records Administration should also receive a copy of these records.
The filing suggests Navarro didn’t respond to requests by the archivist to hand in improperly handled communications.
Another allegation in the filing is that even after the DOJ’s lawyers reached out to Navarro, he “refused to return any Presidential records that he retained absent a grant of immunity for the act of returning such documents.”
However, in response to the filing, Navarro’s attorneys, John Irving and John Rowley, released a statement, saying: “Mr. Navarro has never refused to provide records to the government. As detailed in our recent letter to the Archives, Mr. Navarro instructed his lawyers to preserve all such records, and he expects the government to follow standard processes in good faith to allow him to produce records. Instead, the government chose to file its lawsuit today.”