WATCH: Dem lawmaker serves notice on Trump that House committees will have his aides arrested if they ignore subpoenas
The House of Representatives can send the Sergeant of Arms to arrest members of Donald Trump’s administration who do not comply with subpoenas a Democratic member of Congress explained on MSNBC.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who sits on the Judiciary Committee, was interviewed on “Hardball” by Chris Matthews on Thursday.
“Democrats seeking to hold President Trump accountable say they are going to gather evidence and hold hearings in order to establish a record of Trump’s wrong-doing. And then and only then it seems they will decide whether to impeach him,” Matthews noted.
“The problem is the White House is already stonewalling three congressional committees that have requested or subpoenaed evidence related to the president,” Matthews noted.
Matthews asked Cicilline if Democrats were worried about Trump’s stalling tactics.
“Do you have confidence the clock is on your side?” Matthews asked.
“Yes, absolutely,” Cicilline replied. “First of all Chris, Congress cannot allow the president to prevent us from conducting our oversight.”
“There are three things Congress can do if witnesses refuse to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena,” he explained.
“One is refer to the Department of Justice for prosecution because that’s a crime,” he noted. “We don’t have a lot confidence Mr. Barr will do that.”
“The second is start a civil proceeding and get a citation from the court that would judge that person in contempt and do it that way,” he continued.
“But there’s a third method which 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,” Cicilline explained.
“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 that inherent right,” he explained.
“I love you congressman, but let me ask you this, how do you do it?” Matthews asked. “The Sergeant of Arms in the House to go pick up the Secretary of the Treasury, break past his Secret Service agents and grab him and take him to Capitol Hill and put him in some calaboose?”
“Chris, that’s exactly what happened in 1935, they put the person in custody for 10 days,” Cicilline replied. “Congress has to be serious about this.”
“We have three ways to make sure the witnesses comply and we have to use them,” he added.