Friday, April 26, 2019

Corrections Gleefully Recognized

Well, apparently Congress CAN send the Sergeant at Arms out to arrest people.

“Yes, absolutely,” [Rep. David] Cicilline [D-RI] 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.

And can we see that third option live on TeeVee, please?  Me some too, please, yes?

Maybe that's something Congress needs to do once every 85 years or so.

And about Trump's open refusal to cooperate with Congress:

We still have the distinction between impeachment (which is really just indictment) and removal from office (= conviction),  But public hearings alone, conducted as professionally as possible (i.e., with minimum opportunities for grandstanding), would put a great deal of this before the public.  Even if election is the only possible cure for what ails us, hearings on impeachable offenses would be a valuable part of the political discourse (why do you think people were so glad to see Nixon go, and so angry with Ford for pardoning him?  Because of Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman?)

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