House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that Democrats are considering using the power of inherent contempt to fine Trump officials that resist their subpoenas.
“We’re going to have to enforce much of this in court,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We are going to have to consider other powers like inherent contempt if the courts take too long.”
Last week, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for withholding an unredacted version of the Mueller report from Congress and not allowing them to view highly sensitive grand jury information.
Though Democrats are taking steps to address the Trump administration’s resistance to their Congressional investigations, many are concerned their efforts — subpoenas or court action — could take too long to be enforced.
“I think if you fine someone $25,000 a day … until they comply, it gets their attention,” Mr. Schiff said. “We’re going to have to enforce our ability to do oversight”
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that her party are considering holding more Trump officials in contempt of Congress.
The tension between the White House and House Democrats is continuing to escalate as President Trump refuses to cooperate with virtually any of the Congressional investigations into his personal businesses, administration, and finances.
On Wednesday, he asserted executive privilege over the entire Mueller reporting and supporting evidence — a move Democrats say amounts to a “constitutional crisis.”
Despite the concern, Mr. Schiff cautioned against starting the impeachment process for the president, saying it could take on a life of its own that Democrats couldn’t control.
“It’s certainly true that these additional acts of obstruction of justice…does add strength to impeachment, but part of our reluctance is already a bitterly divided country,” he said.
“He may get us there,” Mr. Schiff added. “He certainly seems to be trying. This may be his perverse way of dividing us further.”