More Contempt Citations Ahead for Trump Advisers: Senior US Democrat

Jerrold Nadler
Gary Cameron/File Photo/Reuters

Congressional Democrats, faced with blanket opposition to their oversight probes by President Donald Trump, are considering more contempt citations against administration officials who defy their subpoenas, a leading Democrat said on Friday.

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said lawmakers may bundle numerous contempt citations from different committees into a single resolution that the full House of Representatives could then vote on.

“There obviously are going to have to be, perhaps from our committee and certainly from other committees, other contempt citations to enforce subpoenas,” Nadler told reporters.

Asked about bundling citations together, the New York Democrat replied: “It’s a great idea. In fact, I suggested it … It just makes sense, to spend as little floor time as possible, to group them together.”

A consolidated contempt vote is among options Democrats are considering in response to Trump’s stonewalling of congressional investigations into his presidency and business investments.

Another option is reviving Congress’s “inherent” contempt authority. Some Democrats say that would allow lawmakers to fine uncooperative officials up to $25,000 per day.

Some Democrats are also calling for impeachment proceedings against recalcitrant Trump Cabinet members.

Nadler said Congress faces “the unprecedented situation in which the administration is essentially stonewalling all subpoenas – we’ve never had this before in American history, so far as I know.”

His committee on Wednesday voted to recommend that the full House bring a contempt of Congress citation against Attorney General William Barr for defying a committee subpoena that seeks the unredacted Mueller report and underlying material. The vote came just hours after the White House blocked the report’s disclosure by invoking the legal principle of executive privilege.

But the judiciary committee chairman also sent a letter to Barr on Friday, offering to resume negotiations for the Mueller material while the contempt citation awaits a vote by the full House. “My staff is ready, willing and able to meet with your staff in an effort to achieve a suitable compromise,” the letter said.

Nadler told reporters that the House Intelligence Committee would soon hold a contempt vote. Other Democratic lawmakers have suggested action against Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for refusing to turn over Trump’s tax returns.

He also reiterated plans to hold former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt if he does not show up to testify before the panel under subpoena on May 21.

“He knows that if he doesn’t testify on the 21st without a court order, which he won’t get, he’ll be subject to a contempt citation,” the chairman said.

Nadler’s committee is continuing to negotiate for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, author of the report on Trump and Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, to testify before he leaves the Justice Department in coming weeks.

“Hopefully he will come in. It won’t be next week,” Nadler said. “If necessary, we will subpoena him and he will come.”

The House Judiciary panel has not set a date for Mueller to testify, but lawmakers had spoken tentatively about May 15. The panel is still negotiating with Mueller and the Justice Department. It was unclear where negotiations stood on Friday.

Barr has said he has no objection to Mueller testifying. But Trump has tweeted that Mueller should not testify.

The Justice Department told the House committee that Mueller is expected to leave his post in “a matter of weeks”, according to Nadler, who rejected the idea that there might a benefit to the special counsel testifying as a private citizen.

“Is there a benefit? No! He may prefer to do that because he’s then more free from the instructions of the Department of Justice,” the chairman said.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Susan Heavey; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and James Dalgleish)

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TOM
Member

There is nothing more to add, all you posters that went before me have said it all and well.

John Furlong
Member

Trump/Pence 2020 and Republicans forever after

Beverly Doman
Member

Absolute abuse of power! What the Dumocraps are too stupid to see, is that they are loosing the American voters! Trump 2020 vote the liberal fools out, they obviously have been in office way too long. Somehow they think they can call the shots!

Mark Simmons
Member

This is not oversight, it’s abuse of power. They aren’t investigating any crimes. In fact in most cases their requests are the only crimes in sight. Demanding that US officials break the law is despicable. Nadler and the Democrats on this committee are the true criminals.

Jeff T.
Member

The only contempt here is the Democrat’s contempt for a President who can accomplish many things that they didn’t dare to dream or that they said was impossible. But they have to run on something for 2020 and they’ve selected “we hate Trump”. You won’t hear much about platforms or policies from them if at all.

richard
Member

Can’t wait to hear the questions the Republicans will ask about what Mueller knows about the FISA reports and the spieing the Demorats did. Should be interesting.

David Peacock
Member

Nadler is a pompous assce and bigot ; he should not envovled in this, his SON is suing Trump. This ignorance and disregard for laws by these idiots must stop.

Rob Carpenter
Member

They had no problems or issues when Holder refused and was held in comtempt, in fact they thought it was tragic that Holder would be held to a standard for answering for his and Obama’s fast and furious scandal to run guns to Mexican drug cartel. Where was their outrage when people like lerner and every other Dem that was called into congress for questioning would answer nothing and plea the 5th on each and every question. They had no problems when Dems didn’t cooperate and refused to give info.

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