House Sergeant At Arms Paul Irving Could Arrest Trump Officials For Ignoring Subpoenas
Congress no longer arrests or detains individuals for ignoring subpoenas, although it still holds the authority to summon witnesses and request documents. President Donald Trump and his administration have refused to respond to subpoenas, and lawmakers could ultimately use its powers to detain White House officials.
On Wednesday, Trump told reporters “we’re fighting all the subpoenas.”
The president has ignored subpoenas issued by Democratic lawmakers on multiple issues, from Trump’s tax returns to his family and businesses. Early last month, the House Judiciary Committee, led by its chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York) issued document requests from 81 current and former Trump administration officials as part of a sweeping corruption probe.
Last week, Trump filed an unprecedented lawsuit in an attempt to block a congressional subpoena meant to compel an accounting firm to disclose information about his business dealings.
Last week, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), the House Oversight Committee’s chairman, stated his panel would vote on whether to hold former White House security director Carl Kline in contempt for failing to appear for questioning. The committee said it would interrogate Kline about allegations that the White House inappropriately gave several Trump administration members like Jared Kushner high-level security clearances.
Given that Democrats hold the majority in the House and the Senate remains under Republican control, any contempt finding would likely emanate from Congress’s Democratic-controlled lower chamber.
Now, there is speculation U.S. House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving — who oversees law enforcement and protocol, among other things — could detain Trump officials for failing to comply with federal subpoenas.
The House must be ready to use powers to compel testimony that have not been used since 1935. Invoking Inherent Contempt of Congress the House can order the Sergeant-at-Arms to jail a person who refuses to testify. The threat of this should help at least. https://t.co/uYekFv5aD9
— Aaron Astor (@AstorAaron) April 23, 2019
Edward Kleinbard, an attorney who previously worked as chief of staff to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, stated lawmakers do have the authority to probe whether Trump complied with fiscal laws and other similar legal requirements.