EXCLUSIVE: Trump Confidant Peter Navarro Describes Life In Prison, Plans For When He’s Free

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Adam Molon Contributor
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Dr. Peter Navarro granted an exclusive interview to the Daily Caller from the Federal Correctional Institution of Miami, where he is serving out a sentence for contempt of Congress – a term he and his allies have called a political imprisonment.

“Lawfare is real. Lawfare is wrong … We’re not supposed to act like Communist China or a Banana Republic. But that’s the growing perception of our justice system,” Navarro told the Caller.

Navarro served as Director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy from 2017 to 2021. He is set to be released from prison on July 17, at which point he plans to debut his new book, The New MAGA Deal, at the RNC with Donald Trump Jr.

Navarro wrote to the Caller via a prison email system: “I’m in prison not for any crime but rather as a matter of honor and duty for defending the constitutional separation of powers.”

Navarro invoked executive privilege when declining to comply with a subpoena from the House January 6th Committee. He was arrested in June of 2022 at Ronald Reagan National Airport by FBI agents, charged in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. with contempt of congress and sentenced in January to four months in prison. Navarro’s legal representation has noted that this case marks the first time in history that “a senior presidential advisor has been convicted of contempt of congress after asserting executive privilege over a congressional subpoena.”

Navarro entered federal prison on March 19.

The following is the Caller’s exclusive interview with Navarro, edited for brevity.

You’re a little more than halfway through your prison term. What is prison like and how are you doing?

The Miami facility is no “Club Fed” by any stretch of CNN’s imagination, but functions more like a low-security prison surrounded by razor wire with frequent lockdowns and little inmate access to the outside world.

It’s a dangerous place health-wise. The low-protein, high-carb, no-fresh-vegetable diet exacerbates problems like diabetes, colon cancer, and heart disease. I’m fortunate I don’t take any medicines, because prescription drugs are in short supply at the daily “pill line,” and a lot of inmates needlessly suffer from symptoms that their prescription drugs would otherwise ameliorate. I’m among about 200 inmates in close dorm quarters — a new strain of COVID hit a few weeks ago and spread like wildfire.

If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. So far I’m stronger, but I’m in the minority in that category within this prison. I see a lot of unnecessary misery because of mismanagement and the callous disregard of laws like the First Step Act by the Bureau of Prisons — prison can break you both mentally and physically, and it certainly doesn’t prepare inmates for success and honest work in the outside world.

What’s a typical prison day like?

Up before dawn, an early breakfast with dry cereal and zero protein, a mile walk around the track thinking of my beautiful fiancée and singing her our favorite song — Michael Bublé’s version of “The Way You Look Tonight.” I know she can hear me — and we talk three times a day on the phone.

[Navarro told the Caller he can speak with his fiancée Bonnie briefly at meal times, but that his phone time is heavily restricted.]

Off to work by 8, lunch at 11, more work, exercise in the yard, dinner. At night, I work both on my appeal being prepared by my legal team and a project I’m working with inmates on to fix a massive computer error in the Bureau of Prisons that is delaying the release of inmates both to halfway houses and to freedom.

This is a huge scandal I’ve uncovered from behind prison walls. Incompetence at the Biden Administration’s Bureau of Prisons is costing nearly $5 billion in wasted taxpayer funds, and the Democrats may rue the day they put me on the inside to see the level of incompetence and the misery among inmates and their families it is causing. Look for more op-eds on this and its emergence as an election issue.

How do you keep up on the news?

It’s very difficult as there are no computers, cell phones, or internet access. Inmates prefer sports, game shows like Family Feud, and movies to news — although you’re far more likely to see Fox News than CNN or MSNBC when news shows pop up.

I also read the Economist on a weekly basis to stay abreast of world news (albeit with a globalist spin) and at dawn I catch five minutes or so of CNBC when the rest of the inmates are sleeping so I can check the stock and bond markets — Joe Kernan, Rick Santelli, and Jim Cramer remain favorites.

Could you talk about the volume of mail you receive?

It’s in the thousands and unfortunately about half of it is returned by the Bureau of Prisons for nitpicky reasons like the wrong-colored ink, colored paper, or the use of greeting cards. I’ve taken great inspiration from the wisdom, prayers, and support of MAGA nation — and try to respond to everyone.

The most poignant letters — always handwritten — are often from veterans who fought for our country and are appalled at the takeover of our justice system for punitive political purposes.  Lawfare is real. Lawfare is wrong. They didn’t fight for the right of one political party to put members of the other party in jail. We’re not supposed to act like Communist China or a Banana Republic. But that’s the growing perception of our justice system.

You have said you won’t seek a pardon if Donald Trump is elected president. Why?

I don’t need a pardon to restore my reputation. Most Americans understand now that I’m in prison not for any crime but rather as a matter of honor and duty for defending the constitutional separation of powers. (RELATED: Trump Says He ‘Would Absolutely’ Rehire Peter Navarro)

Most important, a pardon might provide the Supreme Court with a reason to not hear my appeal. Yet, United States v. Peter K. Navarro is a landmark case, and I’ve given the court a set of perfect facts to settle good law on two key questions: Can Congress compel a senior White House advisor to testify without violating the constitutional separation of powers, and what constitutes a proper invocation of executive privilege?  

If the Supreme Court refuses to take my case for any reason and fails to answer these questions, the constitutional separation of powers will be shattered and the critical role dating back to George Washington that executive privilege plays in effective presidential decision-making will forever be destroyed. That can’t be the law of our land.  

What are you going to do on your first day out of prison on July 17?

If all goes well, I’m going to give my fiancée the biggest hug on the planet, and then we are going to hop on a plane and go to the Republican National Convention where I’ll debut my new book, “The New MAGA Deal,” alongside Don Jr. and perhaps take a brief turn on the stage — Don Jr.’s publishing house is offering “The New MAGA Deal” (www.newmagadeal.com).  

You’ve said that “The New MAGA Deal” may well be the most important book you’ve ever written.  Why?

“The New MAGA Deal” is the definitive book on, and unofficial Deplorable’s guide to, the Trump 2024 campaign platform. It’s important for two reasons. First, it describes 100 presidential actions my old boss will take in the first 100 days on everything from inflation, border security, and combating CCP aggression to defending women’s sports, stopping the genital mutilation of young boys, and ending the relentless lawfare that has corrupted and compromised our now dual system of justice.

Second, and most important, it is the single best defense against the predictable spin of the opposition party that MAGA equals extremism. “The New MAGA Deal” illustrates that the Trump agenda and its economic populism is the most common-sense, mainstream response to the myriad crises this nation is experiencing.

Finally, what will be the approach of a new Trump administration to combating the CCP’s economic aggression and containing Xi Jinping’s imperialistic ventures to control the world’s natural resources, markets, and sea lines of communication?

That will, of course, be up to Donald Trump if he wins what will be a very tough race. I would counsel talking softly while carrying a very big tariff stick and redirecting the mission of the Pentagon from woke madness to combat readiness. In addition, President Trump almost certainly will finish what he and I and others like Bob Lighthizer and Wilbur Ross started — reshoring American manufacturing, particularly from Communist China, and particularly in key areas like defense and pharmaceuticals. Of course, it’s long past time for the CCP to be held financially and morally accountable — along with Dr. Anthony Fauci — for unleashing the COVID virus from the Wuhan lab.

Taiwan President Lai Ching-te took office on May 20, succeeding Tsai Ing-wen, even as China undertook large scale military drills to intimidate the Taiwanese. Do you think China will follow through on its plans to invade Taiwan?

I think a lot in prison about Taiwan, which has a very special place in my heart — the CCP wants to brutally imprison its people like it has done to the people of Hong Kong. My visit to the island some years ago allowed me to see firsthand the vitality and courage of the people.  

Of course, I’ve written about the dangers to the island in my 2015 “Crouching Tiger” book — it’s the crown jewel of the First Island Chain and its loss would be a loss not just for millions of Taiwan citizens but democracy itself. Strategically, it would be a huge blow to the ability of the U.S. and the world to defend itself against a growing Communist Chinese navy.  

It will take only one election in Taiwan that goes wrong to allow the CCP to take the island without firing a shot. Strategically, Taiwan must become a porcupine and a master of asymmetric warfare defense — sea mines and small submarines at the vanguard to counter the massive CCP armada and missile barrages.

One clear and present danger to Taiwan right now is the drawing down of the American arsenal in support of Ukraine and countering Iran — the U.S. is simply not ready to take on a new front.  Another danger is the growing boldness the CCP is taking from the inability of the West to stop Russia. It’s a fraught world — when I was in the White House, the world was far more peaceful.  

NOTE: The interview was conducted by Adam Molon. He is the author of NewSentry on Substack.