House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) announced that Congress is considering levying hefty fines on Trump officials, and others, who attempt to evade congressional subpoenas.

“One thing we are considering is whether we need to revive Congress’s inherent contempt power, such that we would have our own adjudication of the Congress and we would levy fines on those who are not cooperating until they produce what they are compelled to produce,” Schiff said on Friday, at an event hosted by Axios.

The inherent contempt power is rarely used–if used, an individual can be detained at the Capitol or face fines for failure to comply with congressional oversight investigations.

While Schiff wasn’t interested in detaining individuals, he did suggest fines as a “practical” way to compel individuals to comply with the many investigations that the Democratic-led House have.


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“I think it’s much more practical to consider levying individual fines on the person, not the office, until they comply,” Schiff said. “You could fine someone $25,000 a day until they comply and that would probably get their attention.”

Democrats have been exploring ways they could force officials and others to comply with their oversight probes.

President Donald Trump and his White House, on the other hand, have decided to fight back on the congressional investigations in the House, accusing Democrats of trying to score political points against the president in the year leading up to the 2020 election.

Trump has used his executive privilege over the subpoenaed materials, on the Justice Department’s recommendation, which has argued that complying with these requests would compromise ongoing criminal probes.


On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee recommended Attorney General William Barr to be held in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena for special counsel Robert Mueller‘s full, unredacted report.

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