Call to Action: Tell your legislators that you support the immediate return of “Inherent contempt” to the subpoena process

43 mins read

45 years ago, we deposed a corrupt man who would be king. Now another has taken his place. The threat of “inherent contempt” helped end Nixon. Congress, you know what to do…

Action – Tell your legislators that you support the immediate return of “Inherent contempt” to the subpoena process.

I think really the House needs to explore contracting for jail space. This is not going to be putting people up at the Willard Hotel, that they’ll be there with the common criminals, arrested, if they do not comply with the inherent power of Congress to subpoena records and to subpoena people to come in.” 

Rep. Lloyd Doggett ((D) Ways and Means Committee)

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep./Senator [___] to convey to all the heads of investigative committees that we are tired of watching officials of this corrupt administration flout lawful Congressional subpoenas. We want Congress to start using its power of “inherent contempt” again, to jail or substantially fine them.

Contact (for Ventura)

Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26): email, DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24):
 email.  DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348Senator Feinsteinemail, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harrisemail, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: 


Since Trump was elected, it feels like we are trapped in a nightmare version of high school civics class, where the “equality of the three branches of government” is revealed to be nothing but a gentlemen’s agreement…one that instantly dissolves upon contact with the truly venal and lawless.

Over and over, we see members of the Trump apparatus thumb their collective noses at Congress’s power and duty to investigate wrong-doing, apparently with complete impunity. Witnesses are either ignoring the subpoenas (Don McGahnSteve Mnuchin), appearing and invoking inapplicable privileges (Hope Hicks), told explicitly not to comply (Annie DonaldsonRob Porter, Rick Dearborn) or testifying in a combative, defiant, non-responsive way (Corey Lewandowski). Congress voted to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt of Congress, though he is not facing inherent contempt enforcement at this time.

But there are older weapons against the dark arts of politics that have been set aside in this supposedly more enlightened era. It’s time to pull them out again.

Congress has access to three types of enforcement for subpoena:

  • Criminal contempt: The one relies on the Attorney General, in this case, Bill Barr, who is himself a co-conspirator, to criminally prosecute a non-compliant individual such as himself. This “criminal contempt” statute was not enacted until 1857.  Moving on.
  • Civil contempt: A GOP favorite, the Congress has to file suit in federal court to begin the long, inefficient process of litigating the enforceability of subpoenas and determining the viability of privileges invoked by the witness to avoid testifying. Opponents with good lawyers can run out the clock on this type of enforcement, as all such actions have a built-in expiration date of the end of the Congress — at this point, early 2021. The next Congress could renew them but, if they expire, so does the punishment. Even when successful, this methodology causes significant delays in Congress obtaining  sought-after information, diminishing both the value of the disclosure and the committee’s ability to engage in effective, timely oversight. Courts first used this type of contempt proceeding in the Watergate era.
Photo: The “Old Capitol Prison,” at the site of what is now the Supreme Court.
(Library of Congress)
  • Inherent contempt: This was the original version, because Congress doesn’t actually need the federal judiciary or the executive branch to help exercise its own authority. Their power to punish for contempt, a power vested by Article I of the Constitution, is tied to their duty to investigate. They theoretically can arrest and lock up administration officials in either of the two existing prison facilities in DC or fine them daily, until they testify. Immediately. (Yes, please!) (This is from the Congressional Research Center (pg. 13)):
    • The inherent contempt power is a constitutionally based authority given to each house to unilaterally arrest and detain an individual found to be “obstruct[ing] the performance of the duties of the legislature.” The power is therefore broader in scope than the criminal contempt statute in that it may be used not only to combat subpoena non-compliance, but also in response to other actions that could be viewed as “obstructing” or threatening either house’s exercise of its legislative powers.
    • In practice, the inherent contempt power has been exercised using a multi-step process. Upon adopting a House or Senate resolution authorizing the execution of an arrest warrant by that chamber’s Sergeant-at-Arms, the individual alleged to have engaged in contemptuous conduct is taken into custody and brought before the House or Senate. A hearing or “trial” follows in which allegations are heard and defenses raised. Although generally occurring before the full body, it would appear likely that the contempt hearing could also permissibly take place before a congressional committee who reports its findings to the whole House or Senate. If judged guilty, the House or Senate may then direct that the witness be detained or imprisoned until the obstruction to the exercise of legislative power is removed. Although the purpose of the detention may vary, for subpoena non-compliance the use of the power has generally not been punitive. Rather, the goal is to detain the witness until he or she discloses the information sought, but not beyond the end of the Congress.

The history of “Inherent Contempt”

This is actually a really old concept, dating back to customs in the English parliament and in colonial legislatures. Congress deployed its own contempt power early on.

  • 1795: Three House members believed that two men, one named businessman Robert Randall, attempted to bribe them. The House decided the second man was innocent, but that Randall was guilty.  Randall was brought to Congress and reprimanded by Speaker Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey. Randall was ordered held in House custody for a few days.
  • 1800: The Senate found journalist William Duane in contempt for news articles he wrote about the Senate committees. The Senate arrested Duane and held him for several weeks.
  • 1821: In the case of Anderson v. Dunn, the court said, Congress’ power to “hold someone in contempt is essential to ensure that Congress is not exposed to every indignity that rudeness, caprice or even conspiracy may make against it.”
  • 1879 – Seward: An investigation was made into allegations of maladministration by George F. Seward while a consul general in Shanghai, a House committee issued a subpoena to Seward for relevant documents and testimony. When Seward—then an ambassador to China—refused to comply, the House passed a resolution holding him in contempt and directing the Sergeant-at-Arms to take him into custody and bring him before the House.Seward was taken into custody and brought before the House, where he was ultimately released while the House considered impeachment articles.
  • 1917 – Marshall v. Gordon:  In 1917, a House subcommittee had United States attorney H. Snowden Marshall cited for contempt because he used insulting language in a letter to Congress. After federal judge Learned Hand denied Marshall’s habeas petition, the Supreme Court said in Marshall v. Gordon that the letter’s language did not obstruct the subcommittee from performing its legislative duties and it ordered Marshall discharged from custody.
  • 1927 – Teapot Dome: One of the most famous cases using this type of power was the 1920’s scandal – Teapot Dome. 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. Most of us only vaguely remember that this was why President Harding’s term was considered the most corrupt in our history. Until now, anyway.  Teapot Dome involved graft to an official after the government awarded oil leases, legally but secretly and without competition. The story sounds like it could have happened yesterday and former Secretaries Tom Price, Scott Priutt and  especially Ryan Zinke should be extremely grateful they aren’t behind bars right now. Historians note that Trump’s policies have similarities to Harding’s – reorganizing government along business practices, uprooting conservation policy and an emphasis on “think of America first”.
  • 1935 – Jurney v. MacCracken: Inherent contempt was used again when the U.S. Postmaster William MacCracken permitted the removal and destruction of papers which he had been subpoenaed to produce. He was detained first at the home of then-Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Chesley Jurney and, for a second night, at the Willard Hotel in Washington, hence Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s reference at the top of this post. He contested this detention and in 1821, not only did he lose his case (Jurney v. MacCracken), the Supreme Court emphasized the importance and value of this power to jail or fine those who refuse to comply with lawful subpoenas.The Congressional Research Service report from that case:
    • The inherent contempt power is a constitutionally based authority given to each house to unilaterally arrest and detain an individual found to be ‘obstruct[ing] the performance of the duties of the legislature.’  “The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that although the contempt power is not specifically granted by the Constitution, it is still ‘an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function,’ and thus implied from the general vesting of legislative powers in Congress,” the report continues. “The Court has viewed the power as one rooted in self-preservation, concluding that the ‘power to legislate’ includes an ‘implied right of Congress to preserve itself’ by dealing ‘with direct obstructions to its legislative duties’ through contempt.
  • Watergate: Though Congress has levied contempt charges since MacCracken, ((Read here) EPA Administrator Anne Burford – 1984, AG William French Smith – 1983 (not completed), AG Janet Reno – 1998 (not completed) White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and Counsel Harriet Miers – 2008, General Eric Holder – 2012. former IRS employee Lois Lerner- 2014), “inherent contempt” remains the figurative “red button” no one wants to push –  until Nixon. Jonathon C. Rose, who worked in the Nixon White House as a junior aide, wrote about how Nixon changed from an accommodating negotiator with the Democratic-majority Congress of his first term, to an imperial president after his landslide second term. He then refused to negotiate with the Senate Watergate Committee and issuing an edict asserting executive privilege for all White House aides and papers.
    • Senator Sam Ervin said Nixon’s position was “executive poppycock, akin to the divine right of kings.” Ervin declared that his committee had no intention of submitting to the suggested judicial delays, but would instead utilize the Senate’s sergeant at arms to arrest any recalcitrant White House aide, bring him to the bar of the Senate for trial, and ultimately compel him to testify. Fortunes changed pretty for Nixon and his co-conspirators after that.
    • The Supreme Court has, in several decisions, affirmed the power of Congress to enforce its own subpoenas via its sergeant at arms. Ervin’s credible threat to do just that produced a complete retreat by the Nixon White House. To command the attention of the Trump White House, the actual arrest of an appropriate witness or two might well be required.”

Executive privilege – United States v. Nixon: (This is an important issue, so we’re putting in the section in full from the Congressional Research Center, pg. 20 and 21)

The House or Senate may also seek to utilize the inherent contempt power to enforce compliance with congressional subpoenas issued to executive branch officials. As noted, the Supreme Court has confirmed the existence of each house’s independent and unilateral authority to arrest and detain individuals in order to compel compliance with a subpoena. …Although rare, the inherent contempt power has been used to detain executive branch officials, including for non-compliance with a congressional subpoena….an attempt by Congress to arrest or detain an executive official may carry other risks. There would appear to be a possibility that, if the Sergeant-at-Arms attempted to arrest an executive official, a standoff might occur with executive branch law enforcement tasked with protecting that official.

“The Supreme Court has only rarely addressed executive privilege, but its most significant explanation of the doctrine came in the unanimous opinion of United States v. Nixon. Nixon involved the President’s assertion of executive privilege in refusing to comply with a criminal trial subpoena—issued upon the request of a special prosecutor – for electronic recordings of conversations he had in the Oval Office with White House advisers. The Court’s opinion recognized an implied constitutional privilege protecting presidential communications, holding that the “privilege of confidentiality of presidential communications” is “fundamental to the operation of Government and inextricably rooted in the separation of powers.” The justification underlying the privilege related to the integrity of presidential decisionmaking, with the Court reasoning that the importance of protecting a President’s communications with his advisers was “too plain to require further discussion,” as “[h]uman experience teaches that those who expect public dissemination of their remarks may well temper candor with a concern for appearances and for their own interests to the detriment of the decisionmaking process.

Even so, the Court determined that when the President asserts only a “generalized interest” in the confidentiality of his communications, that interest must be weighed against the need for disclosure in the given case. In conducting that balancing, the Court held that the President’s “generalized” assertion of privilege “cannot prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice,” and therefore “must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial.

The Nixon opinion established three key characteristics of executive privilege, at least as it relates to presidential communications.

  • First, the Court expressly rejected the assertion that the privilege was absolute. Instead, the Court found the privilege to be qualified, requiring that it be assessed in a way that balances “competing interests” and “preserves the essential functions of each branch.”
  • Second, to protect the “public interest in candid, objective, and even blunt or harsh opinions in presidential decision making,” the Court viewed confidential presidential communications as “presumptively privileged.” As a result, the Court appeared to suggest that some degree of deference is due to a President’s initial determination that certain information is protected by the privilege. Moreover, the burden would appear to be on the party seeking the information to overcome that “presumption” through a strong showing of need for the information.
  • Third, the Court viewed the privilege as limited to communications made “‘in performance of [a President’s] responsibilities,’ ‘of his office,’ and made ‘in the process of shaping policies and making decisions. . . .’”Thus, the privilege does not appear to apply to all presidential communications.

So, what is the right path forward?

Will fining work? The problem with fining someone per Rep. Adam Schiff’s proposal, is, as Duke University law professor Lisa Kern Griffin noted,”… it doesn’t seem very likely that any administration official or other witness is going to pay that fine unless and until it’s enforced by some court and there’s an actual judgment.”

Arrest the ones that can’t claim executive privilege? Rep. Dogget and Senator Ervin are/were fans of arrest as making the process of discovery much faster. And as you can see above under “Executive Privilege”, Nixon couldn’t ultimately claim immunity for all his people and neither can Trump.

Appointment of an Independent Official to Enforce Violations of the Criminal Contempt of Congress Statute. (Congressional Research Center, pg. 36) “Another proposed alternative for subpoena enforcement has been to establish statutorily a procedure for the appointment of an independent official responsible for prosecuting criminal contempt of Congress citations against executive branch officials. Such a law would seek to create an independent prosecutor authorized to make litigation and enforcement decisions, including the decision to initiate and pursue a criminal contempt prosecution pursuant to 2 U.S.C. § 192 and § 194 under reduced influence from the President and the DOJ. The independent prosecutor would retain prosecutorial discretion in enforcement decisions, but would arguably not be subject to the same “subtle and direct” political pressure and controls that a traditional U.S. Attorney may face.This office would likely be loosely modeled on the expired Office of Independent Counsel (Independent Counsel) established in the Independent Counsel Act of 1978 (Independent Counsel Act or ICA) and upheld by the Supreme Court in Morrison v Olson.

Why we need Congress is to create far more serious consequences – Latest subpoena battles

(From WAPO) The list below, compiled by the Washington Post, shows the extent of the imperial presidency that is overwhelming the normal oversight measures of the Congressional branch. There’s a lot of basic Trump family grifting in it,, but it also includes life-and-death issues – like the Saudi nuclear technology transfer, the Puerto Rico hurricane response, the undercutting of the Affordable Care Act, and the separation of families. The inability to practice oversight corrodes our concept of what America stands for, like the corrupt requests to foreign powers to sandbag competitors, Trump’s banana-republic nepotism, his staff’s repeated violations of the Hatch act, the misuse of the Emergency Powers Act, and whatever anti-American nonsense Betsy DeVos is up to on any given day.

Just in:

There’s a lot of potential fines and arrests involved here!

  • Refusal – The Trump administration has refused to turn over documents or appear for interviews, or has missed deadlines to respond.
    • Trump-Putin Russian meetings: The Trump administration declined to comply with requests for documents and communications related to Trump and President Vladimir Putin’s private discussions. The Washington Post reported that Trump tried to conceal the contents of one discussion by taking possession of his own interpreter’s notes and instructing a linguist present not to discuss what had transpired. The White House has refused to say whether the translator’s notes even exist anymore. Democrats are arguing that the notes are federal records that must be preserved under record-keeping laws.
    • Kushner Saudi trip: Congress has asked for documents and information related to a February trip taken by Kushner to Saudi Arabia, where he reportedly met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the CIA has concluded was responsible for the murder of Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
    • Lease for the Trump International Hotel: The Trump administration has been slow to turn over information regarding a federal agency’s decision to allow the president to keep his lease for the Trump International Hotel in Washington. The hotel rents the historic Old Post Office Pavilion. Democrats say they have only received what they called a “partial” response for documents as part of the investigation.
    • Michael Cohen’s hush-money payments: Democrats are demanding more information about payments made by the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to an adult-film actress who said she had an affair with Trump. A separate New York investigation on the matter recently concluded, with unsealed documents showing that then-candidate Donald Trump communicated repeatedly with Cohen amid the election-year scramble to keep the allegations quiet.
    • Fast-tracked security clearances: The White House has refused to answer most of the House Oversight Committee’s questions and document demands related to its security clearance process, which critics have assailed. Trump leaned on then-Chief of Staff John F. Kelly to grant his son-in-law Jared Kushner a security clearance despite concerns from intelligence officials. Kushner was among more than 20 people whose security clearances were approved despite objections raised by national security officials, according to staffer Tricia Newbold. The White House initially directed Carl Kline to ignore a subpoena on the topic, but then allowed him to answer some questions on the matter.
    • Saudi nuclear technology transfer: The White House has refused to answer questions or document requests on a proposal to transfer highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. The committee released a 24-page report on the issue in February, based on internal White House documents and the accounts of unnamed whistleblowers who raised concerns that the plan violated laws that prevent the transfer of nuclear technology that could support a weapons program.
    • Puerto Rico hurricane response: Congress has revived an investigation into the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria. Trump’s critics have accused him of making the situation in Puerto Rico worse by not prioritizing a government response as the administration did when hurricanes hit Texas and Florida during the same season.
    • Decision to undercut the Affordable Care Act: The Trump administration has refused to discuss its decision to no longer defend the Affordable Care Act against court challenges.
    • Pentagon oversight: Senior lawmakers have expressed concern in recent months about what they say is Pentagon officials’ decreased responsiveness to their requests for information. Lawmakers have also complained that the Pentagon has failed to promptly update them on critical matters of national security, for example the recent intelligence that officials have said constitutes an increased threat from Iran. On July 16, Reed raised lawmakers’ visibility into what goes on at the Pentagon with Mark Esper, President Trump’s nominee to become the next defense secretary. “Any effort to withhold or curtail information necessary to fulfill the committee’s oversight mandate is unacceptable,” he said.
    • National emergency declaration: The White House has ignored inquiries into Trump’s emergency declaration aimed at building a wall on the southern border, which both the House and Senate voted to block.
    • Veterans Affairs oversight: The Department of Veterans Affairs has either refused or delayed document requests from the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on the role of unofficial Trump advisers at the president’s Mar-A-Lago Club in Florida, as well as on key technology and other contracts, the committee says. The agency also has declined to send witnesses to testify at five hearings in recent months. VA officials said they will refuse to attend hearings where the agency is asked to testify with officials from other government agencies. The committee also said it sent staff to five medical centers across the country to monitor the rollout of the MISSION Act, which provides more private health care for veterans, but was blocked from full access to staff operations.
    • Education oversight: Several committees have sought documents regarding Secretary Betsy DeVos’s effort to replace the agency’s acting inspector general. They also have asked for information about the agency’s failure to process more than 140,000 applications for student debt relief. The department has not said how many claims have been approved or denied, and Democrats suspect the agency is simply refusing to act on any of them, despite a court order to do so.
  • Subpeona issued – The House has issued a subpoena for documents or testimony from the Trump administration.
    • Trump finances and emoluments: Senate and House Democrats have filed 37 subpoenas for financial records and other documents from President Trump’s private entities as part of an ongoing lawsuit alleging that his businesses violate the Constitution’s ban on gifts or payments from foreign governments. The July 8 subpoenas target information from a wide array of Trump’s businesses, including Trump Tower, his hotels in New York and Washington, and his Mar-a-Lago Club in South Florida, according to the Constitutional Accountability Center, the legal group representing the Democrats in the case.
    • Trump obstruction of justice: The committee has subpoenaed 12 people with connections to President Trump, including his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, and former attorney general Jeff Sessions. The July 11 subpoenas are part of an ongoing investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice during Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, or otherwise abused his office.
    • White House use of private email: On July 25, the Overight Committee voted to authorize subpoeanas for all White House work communications sent via personal email and cellphones as part of investigation into allegations that White House officials, including Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump have conducted work on private email. The panel expanded its investigation earlier in July, formally requesting the materials before escalating to a subpoeana. The committee said the step was necessary “after six months of White House stonewalling” on the matter.
    • Family separation: Congress has subpoenaed documents related to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on migrants entering the country illegally, which led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents in 2018. The subpoeneas were issued by the Judiciary Committee on July 11. The Department of Health and Human Services has partially responded to House Energy and Commerce Committee demands for documents and communications related to the policy. Other committees, including Appropriations, Homeland Security and Oversight panels, have not recieved full responses.
  • Subpeona  ignored – The Trump administration has exerted executive privilege over subpoenaed documents or directed that individuals not respond to subpoena requests.
    • McGahn Testimony. Citing executive privilege, the White House has told former White House counsel Donald McGahn to ignore a House Judiciary Committee subpoena for documents and testimony pertaining to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller S. III’s investigation. McGahn was a central witness in several of 10 instances of potential obstruction identified by Mueller. The panel is preparing to take McGahn to court to ask a judge to force his compliance. White House lawyers also blocked McGahn’s former chief of staff from answering many questions on the matter, although she did answer some questions in writing.
    • Conway violation of Hatch Act: Kellyanne Conway said she plans to ignore a House subpoena to testify on a government watchdog’s findings that she violated the Hatch Act — the law that forbids federal government employees from engaging in certain campaign activities Conway told Fox News that she is shielded from testifying in her role as a presidential adviser, and described her decision as “taking one for the team.” Cummings has said that if Conway does not honor his committee’s subpoena before July 25, he would vote to hold her in contempt of Congress. The Hatch Act applies to everyone but the president and the vice-president. Iif the House ever gets around to drafting articles of impeachment, it can throw this one on the mound of offenses. Trump encourages and commends lawbreaking in violation of his duty to uphold the law. Congress can, and should, strengthen the Hatch Act by providing for fines and other penalties for violation. The same government agency that now investigates and recommends punishment should be empowered to penalize wrongdoers, subject to court review/appeal.
    • Citizenship question: Democratic lawmakers have accused the Trump administration of stonewalling their efforts to investigate Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s March 2018 decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The House voted in July to hold Ross and Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt for not complying with a subpoena, and continues to investigate the decision. The government had argued it needed the question to better enforce the Voting Rights Act. House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Cummings has also criticized the administration for blocking Justice Department official John Gore from testifying over the matter. The Supreme Court ruled against the question in June. The Trump administration announced on July 11 it would drop its efforts to add it to the decennial survey.
  • Taken to court – The House has gone to court seeking a ruling to enforce their subpoena, or the administration has gone to court to block a request.
    • none
  • Some ruling issued – The courts have issued a ruling in the case, which either side can appeal.
    • Mazars USA accounting firm: Trump’s personal and Trump Organization attorneys are suing the House Oversight Committee and his accounting firm, Mazars USA, to quash a subpoena for his financial information. The lawsuit cites an 1880s precedent that has been overturned and dormant for nearly 100 years. A federal judge upheld the subpoena, and an appeals court is reviewing the case.
    • Deutsche Bank and Capital One: Trump’s personal attorneys and Trump Organization lawyers are suing to block his former lender and bank from handing over financial documents sought by congressional investigators scrutinizing the president’s business and possible connections to Russian money-laundering.
  • Complied – The Trump administration has turned over documents at the request of Congressional committees.
    • Whistleblower allegations: The Trump administration sent the congressional intelligence committees a copy of the whistleblower complaint that raised alarm bells about his July 25 phone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump’s decision came days after members in the House and Senate, mostly Democrats, called for the release of the document. The Senate, by unanimous consent, voted for a non-binding resolution releasing the material on Tuesday. The House Intelligence Committee released the whistleblower’s report Thursday after receiving the document.
    • Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, vowed to resign if he wasn’t allowed to testify to Congress, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News. Aired on 09/25/19. Maguire is expected to appear before the House Intelligence Committee Thursday over the whistleblower complaint that has led to a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.


  • Why Democrats in Congress should use inherent contempt to force Trump officials to testify. (Think)
  • Contemp of Congress and Executive Privilege, explained (WAPO)
  • 2017 – Congress’s Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure ( (
  • 2019 –Congressional Subpoenas: Enforcing Executive Branch Compliance (
  • Lock them up? Where? Democrats’ contempt push raises odd questions (FoxNews)
  • The House could take subpoena enforcement into its own hands. Will it work? A look at “inherent contempt.” (WAPO)
  • House Democrats Are Ignoring This Key Lesson of Watergate (atlantic)
  • Where the Trump administration is thwarting House oversight (WAPO)
  • The House’s contempt powers explained (Constitution Daily)
  • Congressional investigations (
  • Congress could try to enfoce a subpoena power it hasn’t used sonce 1935. Here’s how. (abc)
  • Explainer” How powerful are Congress subpoenas, contempt citations? (reuters)
  • Explainer: Congress no longer runs a jail, so just how powerful are its subpoenas? (reuters)

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