'It's no joke': ​Subpoenaed Trump associates facing life-changing fines and jail time if the DOJ steps in
Amy Kremer, a Trump supporter, on CNN/Screenshot

Appearing on MSNBC on Sunday afternoon, Politico reporter Betsy Woodruff Swan said threats by the House select committee investigating the Jan 6th insurrection asking for criminal charges against any associate of Donald Trump who balks at being subpoenaed should be taken with the utmost seriousness based upon the penalties that could be handed down.

Speaking with host Alex Witt, Swan said that the DOJ under President Joe Biden would likely be accomodating if the Democratic-led committee asked it to step in and file federal charges.

"The threat to issue criminal referrals is significant; any time you start talking about members of Congress accusing people of crimes is a big deal," Woodruff Swan began. "But it's doubly important because the Biden administration controls the political appointees at the Justice Department. If Trump were president and Congress were controlled by Democrats, there's no way the DOJ would bring charges against people for defying a Democratic congressional investigation."

"Now, if these Democrats are able to put together criminal referrals that are serious, which they will be able to do if any of these witnesses defy their subpoenas, there's a very good likelihood that DOJ will take those referrals seriously," she continued, "and that's something that is sure to be front of mind for any of these Trump World witnesses who are thinking about defying those subpoenas."

After stating, "The fact that DOJ is a serious player in this particular moment of the investigation is something that I'm sure is worrying a number of these witnesses," Woodruff Swan was asked by the MSNBC host, "To the point of thinking, yeah, we could end up in jail, we could be behind bars, is that realistic?"

"Certainly, certainly, the Politico reporter replied. "My understanding is that the criminal penalties, if you're convicted of defying this type of Congressional investigation could include a fine that's up to six figures as well as a prison sentence of, I believe, up to a year."

"It's no joke," she added. "This is pretty serious, a pretty serious threat that will be motivating these witnesses when they're trying to figure out what their legal options may be."

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