A Democratic member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee threatened Trump administration officials with jail time if they don’t comply with subpoenas that have been issued.
Rep. Gerry Connolly warned White House officials who are resisting subpoenas and oversight requests as Democrats in congressional committees seek to ratchet up their investigations of President Donald Trump following the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
“This is an assault on the legislative branch and it’s an assault on the Constitution,” Connolly told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.”
The Virginia Democrat continued, “We’re going to resist. If the subpoena is issued and you’re told you must testify, we will back that up — whether that’s contempt citation, whether that’s going to court, whether it’s fines, whether it’s possible incarceration — we will go to the max to enforce the constitutional role of the legislative branch of the government.”
The Trump administration has indicated that it will not be cooperating with the demands from Democrat lawmakers to continue investigations and issue multiple subpoenas, sparking cries of “obstruction.”
“We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” Trump told reporters this week. “These aren’t like impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020. They’re not going to win with the people I see and they’re not going to win against me.”
— Roll Call (@rollcall) April 24, 2019
House Oversight requests to three White House officials have been met with resistance, following Trump’s urging. Congressional Democrats have asked to hear from senior White House adviser Stephen Miller on the issue of immigration and Justice Department Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Gore about the addition of a citizenship question to the US census.
The Committee has also requested to speak on the topic of security clearances with former security official Carl Kline, who has refused to appear just as the other officials have.
Referring to Miller as Trump’s “immigration whisperer,” Connolly indicated that the committee wanted to learn what Miller “has in his head.”
“We want to hear from him, what is your thinking, what is it you’ve been advising the President, and where is it you think you’re going to be taking us as a country with these kinds of policies and personnel changes?” he said.
Connolly slammed the excuses by the administration officials to not comply with requests as “an assault on the legislative branch” and “the constitutional framework of our government,” as he warned that the refusals would cause the legislative branch to become “a pale shadow of what it was intended to be.”
House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings blasted the “massive, unprecedented, and growing pattern of obstruction” after Gore announced Wednesday that he would not be appearing for a scheduled deposition with the committee the next day.
“These employees and their personal attorneys should think very carefully about their own legal interests rather than being swept up in the obstruction schemes of the Trump administration,” Cummings wrote in a public statement.
Trump slammed Democrats for only wanting to “continue the Witch Hunt” against him in a tweet that was part of a series of rebukes.
….Congress has no time to legislate, they only want to continue the Witch Hunt, which I have already won. They should start looking at The Criminals who are already very well known to all. This was a Rigged System – WE WILL DRAIN THE SWAMP!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2019
“We just went through the Mueller witch-hunt where you had really 18 angry Democrats that hate President Trump, they hate him with a passion,” the president told reporters on the White House South Lawn this week. “They came up with no collusion and they actually also came up with no obstruction. But our attorney general ruled based on the information there was no obstruction. So, you have no collusion, no obstruction.”
“Now we’re finished with it and I thought after two years we’d be finished with it — no, now the House goes and starts subpoenas,” he added. “They want to know every deal I’ve ever done.”