On Friday, Peter Navarro, DonaldTrump’s former trade adviser, was charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the January 6th Committee, which has expressed interest in the president’s communications.
Garrett Ziegler, a Navarro aide and ardent Trump supporter who simultaneously backed his boss’ attempts and cooperated with a network of outside operators spreading a barrage of false claims about election fraud and legally dubious plots to keep Trump in power, has received less attention.
The committee’s senior investigative counsel, who is due to begin public hearings on June 9, sent Ziegler an email requesting a meeting to discuss material he may have that is important to the congressional probe.
Ziegler facilitated a now-famous late-night meeting on Dec. 18, 2020, in which attorney Sidney Powell, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne attempted to persuade President Trump to order the National Guard to seize voting machines and re-run elections in six battleground states where he lost to Joe Biden.
As he later described in an interview with fellow election skeptic David Clements, Ziegler used his White House Worker and Visitor Entry System, or WAVES pass to admit Powell, Flynn, and Byrne into the White House, allowing them to hold an impromptu meeting with Trump in the Oval Office.
The discussion, which reportedly devolved into a yelling fight, caught Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone off guard. Ziegler’s actions broke the White House procedure, and he claimed that his visitor’s privileges were terminated after it was found that he had let the plotters into the White House.
“To support the challenge effort, he allowed “several members of my staff to help out in the battleground states on their own time.” Navarro’s book, ‘In Trump Times,” depicts “the youthful and always sincere” Ziegler traveling to a Nevada Indian reservation shortly after the election to investigate alleged vote-buying.
The work culminated in the three-part Navarro Report, which claimed that Trump’s election had been stolen without evidence.
A man called Mark Cook photographed cardboard boxes piled on metal racks labeled “Dominion Voting” and “Made in China” around the time of the election.
“My good friend Mark Cook took this picture,” Ziegler, who is now 26, wrote on his Telegram channel in June 2021. “We infiltrated the election equipment storage facility in Sacramento County, CA, and documented all of the violations of law.”
On the final page of a PowerPoint presentation titled “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference, and Options for 6 JAN” put together by Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel with a background in psychological warfare, which was shown to members of Congress on January 4 and 5, 2021, Cook’s photograph was used.
The presentation proposed that Vice President Mike Pence set aside the electoral votes from Biden’s six battleground states and that President Trump ordered the National Guard to confiscate voting equipment and re-count the ballots.
Cook, for one, is still involved in the election denial campaign. He and Clements, a former New Mexico State University professor, spoke to a Republican-controlled Surry County board of commissioners last month. “If our Pentagon can’t secure a network, Department of Defense can’t secure a network, our Department of Homeland Security can’t secure a network, are we really so foolish as to think the only system that is completely impervious to any cyber-hack is our voting system?”
Cook’s 25-minute presentation left out one simple fact: voting tabulation machines are not networked, and preliminary counts are transmitted from local election offices to a computer by a mobile drive for election-night reporting.
Together with Flynn and Byrne, Ziegler and Cook were trusted members of the network of operatives and conspiracy theorists that operated under the rival legal teams led by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Powell.
Mark and Garrett have worked with us since 14 Nov 20.” Waldron added in a private Telegram text to another election denier. After suspicions surfaced that CIA and British intelligence agents were attempting to infiltrate the network plotting to reverse the election, he noted that Ziegler and Cook “both passed rigorous background checks.”
“I have no idea what Waldron was alluding to,” Ziegler told Raw Story in an email. “None. I had an active [top secret/sensitive compartmented information] clearance at the time. I think he was just spinning a tale for others.”
“I know some of the people that were his direct reports because he wasn’t officially reporting directly to Peter,” Trimarco told Vandersteel. “So, I know some of these other people. And politically that didn’t make people around in Peter’s world very happy with Garrett in the inter-office kinda…. But from what I saw, he was well connected with Peter… and I know he furnished a lot of information for the report.”
While enmeshed with the outside election denial network, Ziegler also provided the external teams with a direct line to the White House and President Trump, to the point where information about election irregularities would often reach Trump before even Giuliani was aware of it, according to Trimarco.
“Ironically, a lot of the stuff that got back to Rudy didn’t end up coming through me,” Trimarco said. “Because once that connection was made, Garrett would give it to Peter, and Peter would give it to the president. And then it would circle back to Rudy.”
Ziegler dated work on the three-part Navarro Report to Nov. 15 in his interview with Clements, one day after Waldron stated he began working with Ziegler.
Navarro’s reports were aided by Ziegler and four other aides, according to Ziegler.
“We prepared — Peter gave direction,” Ziegler told Clements. “He’s a fantastic, logical thinker, which is very hard — easier said than done. He laid it out, what his vision was. And our job was to get the first draft.”
According to Trimarco, much of the information in the reports came from the outside team.