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Tue Oct 8, 2019, 11:57 AM

I'm sorry, but some apparently need to hear this in VERY simple terms:

no witness, whether just asked to appear or subpoenaed, still within reach of Trump's maniacal threats, is ever going to appear to testify before Congress UNLESS they can be physically grabbed by the scruff of the neck, cuffed if necessary and their asses dragged into the hearing room where the first thing the will be told is "If you don't testify, you don't go home. We have a cell reserved fo you."

Anything short of the above is simply checking the boxes so we can say we tried and that IS worthwhile. I sincerely hope I am wrong, but I believe we will be voting on several Artticles of Impeachment based largely on "adverse inferences".

61 replies, 10938 views

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Arrow 61 replies Author Time Post
Reply I'm sorry, but some apparently need to hear this in VERY simple terms: (Original post)
Atticus Oct 2019 OP
N_E_1 for Tennis Oct 2019 #1
tavalon Oct 2019 #2
Texin Oct 2019 #20
William Seger Oct 2019 #46
Maraya1969 Oct 2019 #53
unblock Oct 2019 #3
TidalWave46 Oct 2019 #4
tavalon Oct 2019 #5
deurbano Oct 2019 #15
MFGsunny Oct 2019 #25
gab13by13 Oct 2019 #6
orangecrush Oct 2019 #14
MFGsunny Oct 2019 #28
getagrip_already Oct 2019 #7
SCVDem Oct 2019 #8
MyMission Oct 2019 #9
Bradical79 Oct 2019 #18
progressoid Oct 2019 #10
gab13by13 Oct 2019 #11
progressoid Oct 2019 #13
bigbrother05 Oct 2019 #16
Garrett78 Oct 2019 #61
ancianita Oct 2019 #12
pnwmom Oct 2019 #21
ancianita Oct 2019 #22
pnwmom Oct 2019 #26
ancianita Oct 2019 #30
Karadeniz Oct 2019 #17
ancianita Oct 2019 #44
vlyons Oct 2019 #19
Garrett78 Oct 2019 #23
ancianita Oct 2019 #24
Newest Reality Oct 2019 #32
ancianita Oct 2019 #34
HelpImSurrounded Oct 2019 #27
ancianita Oct 2019 #35
HelpImSurrounded Oct 2019 #38
ancianita Oct 2019 #41
Hermit-The-Prog Oct 2019 #29
pnwmom Oct 2019 #31
Atticus Oct 2019 #33
pnwmom Oct 2019 #36
Atticus Oct 2019 #37
pnwmom Oct 2019 #39
Atticus Oct 2019 #40
pnwmom Oct 2019 #42
Atticus Oct 2019 #43
pnwmom Oct 2019 #45
oldsoftie Oct 2019 #47
warmfeet Oct 2019 #48
LTG Oct 2019 #49
Atticus Oct 2019 #50
doc03 Oct 2019 #51
BumRushDaShow Oct 2019 #54
Atticus Oct 2019 #55
BumRushDaShow Oct 2019 #56
Atticus Oct 2019 #57
BumRushDaShow Oct 2019 #58
BlueStater Oct 2019 #59
BumRushDaShow Oct 2019 #60
Buckeyeblue Oct 2019 #52

Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 12:00 PM

1. Agreed...

Though it may only take one...arrest one and the others may lose their mettle.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 12:02 PM

2. How about Obstruction of Justice

And anyone, with a year or two of law school can make the Ukraine case. It is rock solid without any of Trumps lackeys going to testify. We have three whistleblowers now, two unnamed and Trump. He, also, as the sitting President, asked, in front of any human who cares to notice, China to give him an "in kind" campaign contribution by investigating Biden.

it's time to bring Articles of Impeachment. Schiff knows this. Pelosi, bless her heart, knows this. This is what they need to do. Now.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 02:19 PM

20. Yes, they've got the goods on him for sure, BUT, let the clock run a bit longer.

The more he twists and rants and the more obvious his obfuscation and stonewalling are, the lower his poll number fall. Make the retrumplican senate member squirm more. Every minute (seemingly) of every day he says something that can be added to the Articles of Impeachment and the worse it makes them all look for not helping to put a stop to it. Let them continue to add to the growing list of obscenities committed.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 08:28 PM

46. Yep, and refusing to testify can be taken as circumstantial evidence of corrupt intent

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Response to William Seger (Reply #46)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 08:28 AM

53. Does the president have the right to block someone from testifying in front of Congress?

I think if it was me he was trying to block I'd show him a finger from the middle of my hand and then head over to congress.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 12:03 PM

3. They would testify anyway

They'd make a dubious claim of executive privilege and count on Donnie to pardon them

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 12:09 PM

4. We have had lawyers in court all morning working to get document.

This is going on right now.

We will end up having to go to court to get people to testify, as well.

With the amount of leaks we are seeing this is a very good thing.

Few things are as damaging in politics as a drawn out scandal that has breaking news on a regular basis.

This is the only tactic Trump has. It is the worst spot a politician and political party could be in.

If things keep breaking I wouldn't be surprised if the Turtle has a talk with Pelosi and tells her what charges to bring, to stop the investigations, and he will deliver her 20 + votes in the Senate. Dragging this out does not help a majority of the Republican caucus and other Republicans are going to be brought into the scandal.

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Response to TidalWave46 (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 12:24 PM

5. Yeah,

any day that includes a minute by minute by The Guardian is not a good day for tRumpus.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #5)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:50 PM

15. I had to check the Guardian after that comment, and you're right!

The Guardian is usually my go-to for a "mainstream media" source. While the NYT has been an obvious disappointment (in an extreme understatement), the Washington Post had also been culpable (though seems to be doing better now?), so I turned to the Guardian.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #5)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 03:52 PM

25. Hear! Hear! n/t

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 12:29 PM

6. Dragging this out does not help Democrats,

elections begin in February.

This is why Speaker Pelosi is limiting the impeachment charges to 2 or 3 charges. The whistle blowers will certainly appear to give testimony for Trump's abuse of power, and all of the refusals to produce documents and ignoring subpoenas will be used as proof of obstruction of Congress.

Trump will implode if he is impeached, no matter on how many charges.

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Response to gab13by13 (Reply #6)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:40 PM

14. Welcome to DU

That is an interesting perspective.

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Response to gab13by13 (Reply #6)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 04:03 PM

28. Am on your same wave-length as to timing. Two is minimum # of Impeachment Articles ......

for the reason that POTENTIALLY voting for one but not the other will offer a few of the Rethugs in the Senate a possible cover and/or plausible deniability in the face of revengeful MF45.

We have to remind ourselves and others that it's about 2/3 of Senate members present (and NOT an absolute 2/3 of 100 senators). Yes, of course, I get it that if all 100 senators are present that would equal needing 67 votes to convict. But, these are couple ways for some potential CYA in rethug land senate ........

Each day by day. Am taking stock and counting twice about naughty and nice and such.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:00 PM

7. It won't matter how solid evidence is to some....

The Senate won't have to vote on them anyway. By the carpet bombing they are doing in hop media outlets, the turtle is planning to simply vote to dismis/table the articles with a simple majority, maybe even in committee which will only take 17 votes.

No trial, just dies with a tweet. Oh the horror - Susan Collins will be so troubled.

Our only hope will be cheeseburgers or time. If we survive, it is going to get much worse once he gets this behind him.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:07 PM

8. Nothing but obstruction!

 

Enough!

Lock them up!

Equal justice under law? Really?

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:17 PM

9. Can Congress issue bench warrant for failure to appear

And then lock them up?

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Response to MyMission (Reply #9)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:54 PM

18. That's my question too

 

Whether Congress has power to actually do that.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:19 PM

10. Is checking the boxes actually worthwhile?

Will any of this make a difference? Still has to get past Barr and/or McConnell.

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Response to progressoid (Reply #10)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:29 PM

11. Once McConnell decideds to hold the trial

he can set guidelines for the trial but after that Chief Justice Roberts presides over the Senate trial.

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Response to gab13by13 (Reply #11)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:36 PM

13. *IF* McConnell decideds to hold the trial

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Response to progressoid (Reply #10)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:52 PM

16. Due process is important to punch holes the the 'witch hunt' lies.

Cutting corners would come back to haunt any action.

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Response to progressoid (Reply #10)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 01:51 PM

61. Impeachment is required. We can't set a precedent that condones so many crimes.

We won't get a conviction, but there will be an official record of the corruption, or at least a fraction of the corruption.

And hopefully we'll weaken Trump enough to overcome election fraud and foreign interference, and defeat him next November.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:30 PM

12. That's exactly the kind of enforcement the House has. Why doesn't it use it? Are they serious about

The People's business?

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Response to ancianita (Reply #12)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 02:40 PM

21. They don't really. There is no little mini-jail anymore. That has been gone for decades. n/t

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #21)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 03:21 PM

22. Then what. is. the. point. There IS no protecting and defending the Constitution from scofflaw rule

-- otherwise known as dictatorship run by a fake wrestling promoter.

I want enforcement of the rule of law USED, or there IS no rule of law, just the drama of impotent governance.

If anything will help us, it's the looming conscience of Senate Republicans who now see pro-impeachment poll numbers at 58%.

The public's poll message: "remove him or we'll remove you."

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Response to ancianita (Reply #22)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 03:56 PM

26. It's building evidence for an impeachment article on obstruction. n/t

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #26)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 04:08 PM

30. Evidence. Yes. Being Right. Yes. Enforcement of the Right and Rule of Law. No. Only hope, that

voters will agree, and if they agree, the election system isn't rigged against their vote.

After the Senate votes on 20+ articles of impeachment, it's either removal, or moving on to November 2020, a year away.

A lot of harm can be done to hard working, good thinking people before then, and after. I'm with Atticus. Even if extreme measures are taken only once, it proves strength of governing scofflaws.


Thanks for your post.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 01:54 PM

17. Can the committees complain to the bar with a view to having obstructive lawyers...Barr,

The WH guys...disbarred?

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Response to Karadeniz (Reply #17)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 06:28 PM

44. Sure. Letters can be written to the state bars that issued Barr's and WH counsel law licenses.

I don't know what evidence it takes to disbar lawyers, but if it's related to WH coverup, I'll bet they'll present it for disbarment when most of this is over.

What's going to happen has to happen to a LOT of people; this is a massive undertaking, so there might be moves to disbar a lot of players in this lawyer war, all of it taking longer than we're conditioned to expect.

Trump impeachment/removal first. Henchmen indictments later.

I believe that they turn over what they found to appropriate enforcement, probably FBI, who proceed with indictments. I could be wrong.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 02:18 PM

19. yes cooling their heels in the crowbar hotel will do wonders for them

There's also fines that can be imposed. I don't know what the max allowable fine is, but I think I heard Klobuchar say that hitting their pocketbooks would get their attention. We have to stop playing Mr. Nice-Guy.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 03:25 PM

23. Judges' orders and subpoenas mean nothing to them.

And a charge of obstruction isn't going to sway Republicans.

We're completely dependent on whistleblower testimony.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 03:44 PM

24. So, Inherent Contempt seems to offer an enforcement tool not tried since 1935. U.S. Capitol Police

have holding cells, and the House has a Sergeant-at-Arms to escort the unwilling to said cells.

United States Capitol Police
119 D Street, NE
Washington, DC 20510

Two blocks from the Capitol Building, as the crow flies.


According to a detailed study of Congress’s contempt power by the Congressional Research Service, this inherent contempt power has long been dormant. Congress has not sought to use it since 1935, perhaps because it is too unwieldy and time-consuming or is politically unpalatable. From time to time, partisans on one side or another argue that Congress should dust off this power and start arresting witnesses for contempt on its own rather than relying on the statutory process of a referral to the U.S. Attorney.

There are even periodic rumors that there is a jail cell in the basement of the Capitol building, although apparently this is not the case. The U.S. Capitol police, however, do have holding cells nearby that presumably could be put to use.



https://sidebarsblog.com/contempt-of-congress/

More.

The Capitol Police has exclusive jurisdiction within all buildings and grounds of the United States Capitol complex as well as the Library of Congress... The police were formally created by Congress in 1828 following the assault on a son of John Quincy Adams in the Capitol rotunda. The United States Capitol Police had as its original duty the provision of security for the United States Capitol.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Capitol_Police



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Response to ancianita (Reply #24)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 04:10 PM

32. Thanks!

I was wondering about enforcement in this case, but had not looked it up.

Good to know! It is time to dust it off and bring it to the party.

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Response to Newest Reality (Reply #32)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 04:38 PM

34. ...

someone's gotta bring it!

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 04:02 PM

27. Is this not one of the functions of the U.S. Marshall Service??

People who refuse subpoenas DO get "physically grabbed by the scruff of the neck, cuffed if necessary and their asses dragged into the hearing room". In state courts it's the local sheriff. For federal jurisdiction it's the Marshalls.

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Response to HelpImSurrounded (Reply #27)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 04:54 PM

35. Congress is not their arena. DU discussed this over a year ago, but I can't find the thread.

The USMS as it stands today was established in 1969 to provide guidance and assistance to Marshals throughout the federal judicial districts. USMS is an agency of the United States executive branch reporting to the United States Attorney General, but serves as the enforcement arm of the United States federal courts...

The Act provided that a United States Marshal's primary function was to execute all lawful warrants issued to him under the authority of the United States. The law defined marshals as officers of the courts charged with assisting Federal courts in their law-enforcement functions...


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Marshals_Service#Detention_Enforcement_Officers

What that means is that they are logistical protection around courts, not Congress. For them to serve a warrant for arrest, the House would have to hire a prosecutor to impanel a grand jury, etc, etc. Darrel Issa tried that, but the process wouldn't support his indicting a witness who took the 5th under legal advisement. See my first link, above.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #35)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 05:06 PM

38. Well, that's a new one on me.

I assumed the Marshall's would arrest and hand over witnesses to the Capital police. So Congress lacks a "long arm"? That's a problem.

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Response to HelpImSurrounded (Reply #38)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 05:34 PM

41. I don't think it lacks one, it's more like enforcement across branches has historical lanes.

For instance, the U.S. Marshals might not protect Congress people but might well be protecting the whistleblowers in safe places right now. Pelosi made that need public, so something has been done behind the scenes.

(But Congress is legislative, not judicial or executive. In response to this mafiosa president, who calls someone "fredo" right in front of the U.N., calls for civil war, names specific Democrats guilty of treason, it makes sense to worry about security for anyone, not just those investigating and impeaching him.

Enforcements we always assumed were in place have either never existed or were never used, which is a concern for all of us who want functioning, effective government. We've also finally learned what various federal enforcements do outside the TV-movie versions.)

Anyway, back to your point: the House Sergeant-at-Arms and Capitol Police can act to detain witnesses who refuse to testify once they swear to "tell the whole truth...", etc. -- and so, at least the House has an arm.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 04:04 PM

29. "Do you want to be a witness or a defendant?"

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 04:09 PM

31. Where is this cell that is reserved? They got rid of the Congressional jail decades ago.

They put a Supreme Court building on that land.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #31)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 04:32 PM

33. First, it is my understanding that the Capitol Police have cells which could be used,

Second, it is common for cities, counties or other governmental units which have jails go rent out excess cell space to to other governmental units needing temporary confinement space.

Third, if they once had a secure room in the basement for confining those in contempt of Congress, they can have one again. All they need is the desire; the rest is "details".

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Response to Atticus (Reply #33)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 05:01 PM

36. "They" consist of two parties, and the party that controls the Senate won't agree.

That is a major detail.

I've looked into other details of this before, and I don't see how this could be done anymore. Not in the face of Senate obstruction.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #36)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 05:05 PM

37. So, you understand that the Senate can govern how the House exercises and enforces its

inherent contempt authority?

I don't think that is correct.

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Response to Atticus (Reply #37)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 05:14 PM

39. I have looked more than once for a solid source that explains how

the House can actually exercise this authority now. If you have one, I'd LOVE to read it.

That's something I would love to be true and I've unsuccessfully searched for the proof.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #39)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 05:33 PM

40. Have you read post #24 above? It is uncontoverted that the inherent contempt power

was exercised in 1935 and prior. I think the situation is not "where is clear authority that the House has this power?", but "where is there ANY authority that they have somehow lost the power they clearly once had?"

We will never know if we don't try it.

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Response to Atticus (Reply #40)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 06:05 PM

42. That's when we still had the jail. It's gone now. n/t

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #42)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 06:25 PM

43. As I said in #33 above, I don't see that as a problem, but I am not an expert in this

field and I may be all wet. Thanks for your responses.

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Response to Atticus (Reply #43)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 06:31 PM

45. I trust Nancy to find a way, if there is one. And to use this power, if it still exists,

strategically, for maximum impact.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 08:54 PM

47. Didnt Ken Starr do the same? So why dont they do it now?

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 09:50 PM

48. I will say, very plainly, that if we do not succeed

it is the end of this county as a democracy. This is it. End of the line. I hope everyone here is all in, because everything you know and care about is on that line. Impeach, then convict, then remove from office - then prosecute via normal judicial practices. Anything less, including defeat in the next election, will result in the end of the rule of law. Some may characterize this as hyperbole, I only wish it was.

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 05:46 AM

49. There has been some guidance on exercise of inherent contempt

Courts have ruled a number of times on the exercise of congressional inherent contempt powers. These opinions have been either directly on point or sufficiently related to provide useful indications of the positions the court might take. Further the historical practices and procedures of Congress are also useful in defining required process.

The Congressional Research Service has written a paper discussion of the exercise of the enforcement of Congressional contempt citations. In part, regarding due process requirements, the paper reads as follows:

“Congressional precedent would also appear to be a useful guide to the question of what process is due. A review of early exercises of inherent contempt, discussed above, indicates that the following procedures have been established: attachment by the Sergeant-at-Arms; appearance before the bar; provision for specification of charges; identification of the accuser; compulsory process; provision of counsel; a hearing; determination of guilt; and imposition of a penalty. According to one commentator, “[t]his traditional procedure was followed by both houses of Congress until they abandoned it for a more convenient statutory device.”121 Since these procedures appear to be in excess of what the Court instructed was required in Groppi, it would seem reasonable to conclude that any inherent contempt proceeding that conforms with these traditions would likely satisfy judicial review.”

“Congress’s Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure” Congressional Research Service, page 21, 2017

More modern practice has permitted the use of a select committee established to take testimony of witnesses and the accused and provide a written transcript to the House for consideration by the members before a vote is taken to determine guilt and sanction to be imposed. This is the same process utilized by the Senate for its more recent impeachment trials. Taking and receiving of testimony and evidence in this manner allows the House or Senate to continue its legislative agenda during the trial.

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Response to LTG (Reply #49)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 07:50 AM

50. Thanks for that. nt

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 07:58 AM

51. If you or I were subpoenaed to testify in court

and we refused we would be in jail. Why not these criminals?

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Response to doc03 (Reply #51)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 10:32 AM

54. Because Congress is not a "court"

where "courts" are part of a "Judicial" branch and Congress is the "Legislative" branch (and there is a "separation" of branches).

That is why this whole issue is generally bizarre and has it's own rules. What Congress often does IS take the subpoena refusals to a court and then the court can have a field day reinforcing the authority with a further order to appear or else (which could land them in jail more easily then trying to figure out the logistics of inherent contempt including finding some LEO that is authorized outside of the chamber to go get the person -and note the U.S. Marshalls operate under DOJ- and then find a place to put them).

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #54)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:05 AM

55. Do you have any ballpark estimate of just how long it will take for a court to assist in enforcing

House subpoenas? (I think appeals all the way up to the SCOTUS must be presumed,)

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Response to Atticus (Reply #55)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:22 AM

56. Oddly enough, I just got done reading an article and closing it out before I saw your post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/07/federal-judge-takes-sledgehammer-trumps-stonewalling/

where it has this (author worked in the Clinton administration as a U.S. Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General) -

A federal judge takes a sledgehammer to Trump’s stonewalling

By
Harry Litman
Contributing columnist
Oct. 7, 2019 at 2:20 p.m. EDT

/snip

Marrero began the opinion by calling the president’s claim “extraordinary.” Things went steeply downhill for Trump from there. He wrote that Trump was asserting a constitutional shield from judicial process that was “virtually limitless,” a notion of “unqualified and boundless . . . presidential immunity that stands at direct odds with the framers’ constitutional plan and the Supreme Court’s precedents on executive immunity.” More: The president’s position was “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.” At its core, the court wrote, the argument reduces to the “very notion that the Founders rejected at the inception of the Republic.” And all that in just the first eight pages of the opinion, which continues on to demonstrate, using Supreme Court case law and basic political theory and history, the fundamental arrogance and lawlessness of Trump’s argument. Trump likely anticipated the ruling, and maybe even welcomed the opportunity to move the case to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, thereby eating up more time. The legal battle isn’t over yet. But this skirmish was a total rout for the president, and that matters for several reasons.

First, there are similar pending actions involving the administration’s general strategy of filing tenuous or meritless arguments to resist lawful testimony or producing documents. You can be sure that the courts in those actions will carefully read Judge Marrero’s opinion here — which paves the way toward dismissive and incensed rejections of other outlandish arguments (e.g., the administration’s insistence that former White House counsel Donald McGahn and former communications director Hope Hicks are protected by absolute immunity from even showing up in Congress).

Second, the quick work of the court indicates a judicial recognition of the urgency of resolving the administration’s far-fetched claims. It’s hard to see the court of appeals sitting on its hands for months after the lower court has made such a quick handoff.

But, most important, by far, is that the scathing language of the opinion bolsters the argument the House is developing for its second impeachment count, based on Trump’s attempted stonewalling of the House’s investigation. It is a major shot in the arm for that theory that the judicial branch has weighed in saying that Trump’s legal strategy is brazen and bankrupt. That strategy has stalled matters for a few months, but it’s beginning to come home to roost.


I.e., there is an expectation that this dam is about to burst and not drag out.... and I expect that once it does burst, it will form the framework for future arguments across the board for attempting to gain documents.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #56)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:45 AM

57. I very much hope you are correct in your "expectation". Thanks. nt

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Response to Atticus (Reply #57)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 12:37 PM

58. You and me both!!!!!!

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #54)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 12:45 PM

59. What's the point of calling it a "subpoena" if they can't or won't enforce it?

Nonsensical.

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Response to BlueStater (Reply #59)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 01:43 PM

60. It's an old-fashioned term for a "summons" - the term isn't only or strictly applied to courts.

In this case, it's a step above a "written invitation" or "request" that Congress normally sends out to ask someone to testify in a hearing. And note that not all hearings are "under oath" either.

Over the past couple centuries, the courts have slowly filled in the pieces of how these are handled when it comes to Congress. At some point the person refusing to comply can be held for "Contempt of Congress", which has associated case law that goes along with that -

Contempt of Congress

Definition

Congress has the authority to hold a person in contempt if the person's conduct or action obstructs the proceedings of Congress or, more usually, an inquiry by a committee of Congress.

Contempt of Congress is defined in statute, 2 U.S.C.A. § 192, enacted in 1938, which states that any person who is summoned before Congress who "willfully makes default, or who, having appeared, refuses to answer any question pertinent to the question under inquiry" shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a maximum $1,000 fine and 12 month imprisonment.

Before a Congressional witness may be convicted of contempt, it must be established that the matter under investigation is a subject which Congress has constitutional power to legislate.

Generally, the same Constitutional rights against self-incrimination that apply in a judicial setting apply when one is testifying before Congress.

Caselaw

Quinn v. U.S., 349 U.S. 155, 75 S. Ct. 668, 99 L. Ed. 964, 51 A.L.R.2d 1157 (1955).

Fields v. U.S., 164 F.2d 97 (App. D.C. 1947).

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/contempt_of_congress


And in order to declare the above, the conditions need to be met. What has generally happened in the past is that as they move forward towards the contempt citation, the refuser has generally started providing something. It has rarely gone as far as the intransigence that we are starting to see with this administration, so the options have rarely been tested to their full extent.

There was an interesting piece about all this written by Bill Clinton's former Chief Counsel Jack Quinn in WaPo (he's been on the cable shows as a contributor). He sortof covered the delicate balance that needs to be taken into consideration -

If contempt of Congress can’t be enforced, then Congress isn’t a co-equal branch

By Jack Quinn
September 24, 2019 at 2:57 p.m. EDT

/snip

“Historically, the House and Senate relied on their own institutional power to not only enforce congressional subpoenas, but also to respond to other actions that either house viewed as obstruction their legislative processes or prerogatives.” In 1927, in a case involving the Teapot Dome scandal, the high court upheld the Senate’s power to arrest and jail a witness, the brother of then-Attorney General Harry Daugherty, for refusing to appear. Recalling Watergate, Jonathan C. Rose, a former aide to President Richard M. Nixon, argued Monday that “to command the attention of the Trump White House, the actual arrest of an appropriate witness or two might well be required.”

If that seems drastic — and I concede it would be appropriate only in rare situations — Congress can and should at least impose stiff financial penalties on misbehaving witnesses. There are logistical impediments, certainly, to the House directing its sergeant at arms to go out and arrest members of the executive branch, and if they tried, it could set up a new constitutional crisis within an existing one.

As Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes notes, asserting inherent contempt power in this way “hasn’t been deployed in a long time, and it’s not 100 percent clear that courts would tolerate it.” But there’s a risk that runs in the other direction: If the stonewalling of the current administration, and Congress’s acquiescence so far, wind up demonstrating that there’s nothing the legislative branch can do to enforce its power, then it’s difficult to say that we have an effective system of checks and balances — one of the ideas that animates our system of government.


Executive privilege disagreements are fought out in this area of delicate constitutional balance. As White House counsel during the days when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) tortured the Clinton administration with specious investigations, I personally engaged in a number of those battles: The House Oversight and Reform Committee once voted to hold me in criminal contempt when we were simply unable to compromise on a committee request for documents. The issue was eventually resolved, in part with the help of a GOP congressman also named Jack Quinn. He would joke that his constituents were outraged that their representative went to work for President Bill Clinton.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/09/24/if-contempt-congress-cant-be-enforced-then-congress-isnt-co-equal-branch/

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Response to Atticus (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 08:00 AM

52. You are probably right

The strategy seems to be to ignore the House, refuse to cooperate and see what happens. If it works, it turns the framers intent of checks and balances on it its ear.

We can only hope that public pressure will maybe compel someone to come forward. But this administration governs for the 30-40% minority. Not the 60-70% majority.

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