Congress must 'enforce subpoenas through contempt' to make ex-Trump officials talk: former federal prosecutor

The subpoenas issued by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol will only matter if Congress is prepared to enforce them, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner explained on Thursday.

"Chairman Bennie G. Thompson today announced that he has issued a round of subpoenas for documents and testimony to four individuals with close ties to the former President who were working in or had communications with the White House on or in the days leading up to the January 6th insurrection," the committee announced.

"In letters to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Daniel Scavino, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel, and former Trump advisor Stephen Bannon, Chairman Thompson instructed the witnesses to produce materials and appear at depositions in the weeks ahead," the committee explained.

Kirschner said it would come down to enforcement.

"We've seen prior administration officials thumb their noses at congressional subpoenas," he noted. "We'll have to ask the question, 'Has Congress learned its lessons of the past by failing to aggressively try to enforce its subpoenas if witnesses refuse to comply?" he wondered.

"There, of course, are three ways Congress can do that. With civil enforcement, with criminal contempt, and with the inherent power Congress has to enforce its own subpoenas through contempt," he explained.


subpoena enforcement