Schiff proposes daily $25K contempt fine

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on May 10, 2019 - Duration: 01:44s

Schiff proposes daily $25K contempt fine

A senior Democratic lawmaker has proposed issuing a daily fine on U.S. officials who stonewall congressional investigations.

Nathan Frandino has more.

Schiff proposes daily $25K contempt fine

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REP.

ADAM SCHIFF, (D) MASSACHUSTTS, SAYING: "You could fine someone $25,000 a day until they comply." A daily $25,000 fine.

That's what House intelligence chair Adam Schiff is proposing for top Trump officials and others who Democrats say are stonewalling a wave of congressional investigations.

The steep fines would draw upon Congress's long dormant power called inherent contempt, adding teeth to the enforcement of congressional subpoenas, which the White House has vowed to ignore.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REP.

ADAM SCHIFF, (D) MASSACHUSTTS, SAYING: "We would levy fines on those who are not cooperating until they produce what they're compelled to produce." Inherent contempt is the extra-judicial power to arrest, detain and fine individuals... a practice not used since the 1930s.

House Democrats are juggling at least a half-dozen separate probes into the Trump administration, covering everything from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation to President Trump's tax returns to White House security clearances.

They've subpoenaed officials from former White House Counsel Don McGahn to attorney General William Barr, who the House Judiciary Committee this week said should be held in contempt for not turning over the full version of Mueller's report.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Bob Mueller's no friend of mine.

I had conflicts with him." Using his own broad powers, Trump has directed officials not to comply with the subpoenas issued so far, fighting back after Mueller found Trump had REPEATEDLY tried to impede his probe.

On Wednesday Trump invoked executive privilege in a sweeping move to keep Congress from seeing Mueller's unredacted findings and evidence.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REP.

JERRY NADLER, (D) NEW YORK, SAYING: "We're in a constitutional crisis." Democrats say imposing fines under inherent contempt could help avoid fighting Trump in the courts, which could take years.

Schiff says they're still studying the contempt law to make sure they're on, quote, "solid ground."

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