Whistle-blowing protester derails Peter Navarro’s attempts to ask for cash outside contempt trial

Peter Navarro found himself vexed by a pair of protesters accusing him of treason on Tuesday as he spoke outside of a Washington DC federal courthouse — and asked for money.

The former White House trade adviser to Donald Trump is back in town to face charges of criminal contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the House select committee to investigate the attack on January 6, which Republicans attempted to sabotage at every turn after refusing to be a part of it.

Mr Navarro was speaking on the sidewalk when the pair of activists began blowing a whistle over his attempts to direct supporters to a website where they could donate to help fund his legal defence.

“This is what’s wrong with America here,” said an exasperated Mr Navarro as he gestured to one of the demonstrators.

His trial is set to begin in the coming days; jury selection began this week. Mr Navarro has pleaded not guilty, and has argued that statutes governing executive privilege shielded him from the committee’s requests.

But that argument has already been rejected by the judge overseeing his case, who called it “weak sauce”.

“There was no formal invocation of executive privilege by [Trump] after personal consideration nor authorization to Mr Navarro to invoke privilege on his behalf,” Judge Amit Mehta said during pre-trial hearings.

Mr Navarro could face a fine or prison time if convicted.

The House select committee to investigate the attack on the Capitol ended by recommending Mr Trump and members of his legal team be charged with several crimes, including giving comfort to a rebellion or insurrection, in the ex-president’s case.

Prosecutors at the Department of Justice followed up this year by bringing charges against Mr Trump on the matter, though they were more limited in scope than were recommended by the committee. Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty; he is charged with four counts related to the 2020 election at the federal level, and others for his actions in Georgia.