Dem Rep. Cicilline: Imprison White House Officials That Don’t Comply with Congressional Subpoenas

JEFF POOR

Thursday on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, suggested imprisonment for officials in the Trump administration that did not comply with congressional subpoenas.

Cicilline argued there was a precedent for such action.

“First of all, Chris — Congress cannot allow the president to prevent us from oversight,” he said. “We have three things Congress can do if witnesses refuse to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena. One is, refer to the Department of Justice for prosecution because that’s a crime. We don’t have a lot of confidence Mr. Barr will do that. The second is to start a civil proceeding and get a citation from the court to bring that person into contempt and do it that way. But there’s a third method we can do right away. Since 1821, the Supreme Court has recognized the inherent right of Congress to hold individuals in contempt and to imprison them. That was reaffirmed in a case in 1935. Congress has the responsibility, and I would say the obligation to hold individuals in contempt who do not comply with a lawful subpoena who do not produce documents and we ought to be prepared to imprison them because we have the inherent right.”

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