A federal judge has ordered former Donald Trump adviser Peter Navarro to turn over to the US government certain emails from his time at the White House, granting the Justice Department a victory in a civil lawsuit the department brought against the ex-trade adviser.
US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said that the emails in question – from a non-official email account Navarro used at the time – were covered under the Presidential Records Act.
“It bears note that under the PRA Dr. Navarro’s obligation to copy from or forward from his personal account to the official account was ‘no later than’ twenty (20) days after the original creation or transmission,” she wrote. “Plainly, he did neither during his tenure in the White House, nor has he forwarded Presidential record emails in the years since.”
She rejected Navarro’s arguments that producing the emails would put at risk his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, as well other arguments Navarro made in the case.
Navarro was ordered by the judge to immediately produce 200 to 250 emails that his lawyers had found when they had done a search, using search terms provided by the the National Archives and Records Administration, of his emails last summer. The Archives had asked him to prioritize the emails that had come up with those search terms.
The judge also ordered that Navarro and the government meet within 30 days to come up with a plan for identifying and turning over the other emails that should be produced under the PRA. She is asking for a status report to be filed by seven days after the parties meet.
When it filed the lawsuit, the Justice Department said that the National Archives had become aware of the emails on Navarro’s private account because of a House investigation into the Trump administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.