E. Patriot – Opinion – David Cicilline (D-RI), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, appeared with Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball this past Thursday.
Rep. Cicilline suggested that if any Trump administration officials did not comply with congressional subpoenas they should be imprisoned even claiming there is precedent that action.
Rep. Cicilline: “First of all, Chris — Congress cannot allow the president to prevent us from oversight.
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.”
What Rep. Cicilline conveniently avoids discussing is another Supreme Court decision upholding the right of one branch of government exercising its obligation to protect itself from the political overreach of another branch of government.
In the case of the POTUS it’s commonly referred to as Executive Privilege. That privilege extends to every member of the Executive Branch. The protections extend not just to depositions but to documents as well.
Most recently Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused to comply with subpoenas from then-chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes.
At that time the mainstream propaganda media told us that Nunes was precipitating a constitutional crisis. Now? Not so much as the propaganda media resort to its default position – destroy Trump by any means necessary – even when it requires turning the Constitution on its head.