Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Friday on CNN’s “Situation Room” that the so-called House Select Committee on January 6 would use “criminal contempt” to enforce subpoenas.
Subpoenas were sent to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former White House social media director Dan Scavino, former Pentagon official, House Intelligence Committee aide Kash Patel and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Blitzer said, “The former President Trump, he reacted saying, and I’m quoting him now, ‘We will fight the subpoenas on executive privilege and other grounds,’ calling your investigation once again, I’m quoting, ‘unselect committee.” Does that threat by the former president have any teeth? Because the White House, the current White House says President Biden wouldn’t assert executive privilege.”
Schiff said, “Well, first of all, it’s very encouraging that the Biden administration is not going to allow those that were potentially implicated in January 6 to hide behind bogus claims of privilege. That’s very encouraging from the Biden administration.”
He added, “We’re going to use whatever compulsion we need to to get these witnesses to testify, and we went straight to subpoenas because we were aware that they might very well try to do what they did, frankly, in the last administration. That is run out the clock for years and years.”
Blitzer said, “The chairman of the Select Committee, Bennie Thompson says if these witnesses don’t comply, then I’m quoting now ‘criminal contempt’ or other measures will be open to us. That’s a quote from Bennie Thompson. What other measures, Mr. Chairman, are on the table?”
Schiff said, “Well, that is, frankly, probably the most severe measure. There are a number of ways to enforce subpoenas, as we have tried over the last four years. There are civil efforts to seek to effectuate those subpoenas in court, but that can be very time-consuming. During the last administration, when Bill Barr was the attorney general, he was doing everything he could to protect the person of the country, not the country itself, which meant, of course, that he wasn’t going to assist in enforcing subpoenas. But it’s a very different Justice Department now that puts the public interest first. So if people, you know, willfully ignore the law, and they defy these subpoenas, then pursuing a criminal contempt is viable, and we would hope that we would have the support of the justice department in that we have to reestablish that people can’t simply thumb their nose at legal process and get away with it.”
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