Trump White House trade adviser Peter Navarro distanced himself Thursday from a former aide tied to discussions about using the military to seize voting machines following the 2020 election.

During a TV interview Thursday, Navarro said he had no knowledge of what his aide did and that he did not personally participate in setting up a December meeting to talk about using the military to seize voting machines, insisting that has never been a "machine guy."


"I have no knowledge of what he did. I don't know if he did it or not. All I've seen are things in the press," Navarro said on MSNBC. "He was working off the reservation and not at my direction. It's unfortunate that he got implicated in that."

Last week, the New York Times reported that Garrett Ziegler, an aide to Navarro, said he escorted retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, attorney Sydney Powell, and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne into the Oval Office to discuss the plan on Dec. 18, 2020, with former President Donald Trump. This circumvented the typical process for guests to enter the Oval Office, which usually involves getting approval from the chief of staff, who was Mark Meadows at the time. Meadows's office subsequently revoked Ziegler's guest privileges, Ziegler said in a podcast.

MSNBC host Ari Melber noted that Rudy Giuliani, who was Trump's personal lawyer at the time, was very concerned with the idea of using the military and feared they could end up in prison. He asked Navarro if it was wrong for Ziegler to facilitate the meeting. Navarro avoided answering the question directly, arguing that he did not have enough information. He also expressed dismay at the reported proposal.

"That's not something I would have put forward by any stretch of the imagination. I've never been a machine guy," Navarro said. "There were just so many other things going on. I've never been a machine guy. I've never been a Sydney Powell fan. I called her a crackpot in my book."

At one point during the interview, Melber noted Navarro's plan to have former Vice President Mike Pence serve as the quarterback in his "Green Bay Sweep" plan to overturn the 2020 election. He asked Navarro if Vice President Kamala Harris has the authority to change election results in a future presidential election. Navarro argued that Melber "misconstrued" his argument.

"It's not for the vice president to determine who wins. The only thing that Pence had the authority to do is go back to the states and let the states look at the vote. It's the states that have the right to determine who won the election," Navarro said. "Any vice president under the Electoral Count Act of 1887 if there are objections that are raised about a state's electors. The provision is that you have two hours in each chamber, and at the end of that, you can send those back to the states for a second look."


The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill subpoenaed Navarro on Wednesday for information and records he has about efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Melber pressed Navarro on his apparent decision not to comply with the subpoena due to executive privilege. He argued that Navarro had been doing public interviews about his plan to overturn the election.

"Chapter 21 of the In Trump Time book reveals everything about the Green Bay Sweep. That doesn't violate executive privilege," Navarro said in response. "Going before the Congress when the president has invoked executive privilege is a totally different animal. And as a lawyer, if you can't see the difference of that, I can't help with that."