contempt

Capitol Ink | Barr-tleby the Scrivener

Before considering power that could jail defiant Trump officials, Dems plan to go to court
‘Inherent contempt’ remains an option, but House vote next week would seek civil enforcement first

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Democrats will seek to enforce their subpoenas with civil court action before considering inherent contempt. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite some Democrats calling on the House to use its inherent contempt authority to fine or jail administration officials who defy subpoenas, Democratic leaders have opted to first fight the battles in civil court.

The House will vote next week on a resolution to authorize the Judiciary Committee to pursue civil enforcement of subpoenas it issued to Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn. 

Capitol Ink | Open and Shut

Are Democrats using quest for unredacted Mueller report as shield against impeachment?
Court fight to obtain full report could drag beyond 2020 election, allowing Democrats to avoid impeachment decision

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., conducts a markup on a resolution to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to respond to a committee subpoena for the unredacted special counsel report and investigatory materials. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders have unequivocally accused President Donald Trump of ongoing obstruction of justice, but they say they won’t decide whether to begin impeachment proceedings against him without seeing the full report and evidence from the special counsel’s investigation.

The result is a single-track process that will likely involve a lengthy court battle for the unredacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report and his underlying investigatory materials. Trump on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over those documents, before the Judiciary  Committee voted along party lines to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for ignoring the panel’s subpoena to turn them over.

Just where is this secret House jail located?
A Capitol basement investigation yielded some answers

The Lincoln catafalque is seen Wednesday through bars in a chamber below the Capitol Crypt. Contrary to many a rumor, this is not the House jail. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi resurfaced one of the Capitol’s most enduring mysteries when answering a question about whether Democrats might imprison Trump administration officials who defy Congress: the House jail. But where is this mysterious cell?

“We do have a little jail down in the basement of the Capitol, but if we were arresting all of the people in the administration, we would have an overcrowded jail situation. And I’m not for that,” Pelosi said Wednesday at a Washington Post live event.

Capitol Ink | Trumpty Dumpty Stonewall

Democrats may hold Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to deliver unredacted Mueller report
Judiciary Democrats also expected to subpoena AG for his testimony after he decided to skip Thursday hearing

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., says he’s considering holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General William Barr escalated tensions with House Democrats on Wednesday by ignoring their subpoena for the unredacted version of special counsel Robert S. Meuller III’s report and declining to testify before the Judiciary Committee as scheduled Thursday.

The attorney general’s defiance has Judiciary Democrats considering holding him in contempt of Congress.