One of the main ways House Committees can compel witnesses to testify is through subpoena power. If the witness chooses to ignore that subpoena, though, they can also hold that person in contempt. This week, a house panel voted to hold William Barr in contempt for ignoring a subpoena.
The potential penalty for being held in contempt is to face jail time. House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), however, feels it might be more effective to charge these witnesses for every day they ignore their subpoenas.
Schiff told Axios:
Much as I like the visual of [throwing people in jail], I think it’s far more practical to consider levying individual fines on the person — not the office — until they comply. You could fine someone $25,000 a day until they comply. You can do that. We’re looking through the history and studying the law to make sure we’re on solid ground.”
In addition to the Barr subpoena, the Senate Judiciary Committee would like to speak with Donald Trump Jr. Unfortunately for the president’s son, he is not an administration member with the ability to declare executive privilege. Unlike the House Committee, the Senate Committee is headed by a Republican, Richard Burr (NC).
Still the president does not think his son should have to testify. He told reporters yesterday, “[F]rankly for my son, after being exonerated, to now get a subpoena to go again and speak again after close to 20 hours of telling everybody that would listen about a nothing meeting, yeah, I’m pretty surprised.”