Rudy Giuliani Says He Won’t Comply With Subpoena From Congress — So What Happens Next?
Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer for President Donald Trump who has also reportedly been leading an effort to begin an investigation within Ukraine (into Trump’s potential political opponent in 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden), said he will not comply with a congressional subpoena that was issued to him late last month.
Speaking to ABC News about the matter, Giuliani insinuated that he doesn’t know what the next step will, or what he will do if members of Congress try to enforce the subpoena.
“If they enforce it, then we will see what happens,” Giuliani said.
Three congressional committees sent a subpoena to Giuliani in September after he appeared in a series of television interviews seemingly acknowledging his role in the Ukraine scandal.
“A growing public record indicates that the President, his agent Rudy Giuliani, and others appear to have pressed the Ukrainian government to pursue two politically-motivated investigations,” the subpoena letter to Giuliani read. “The Committees have reason to believe that you have information and documents relevant to these matters.”
The deadline for Giuliani to respond to that subpoena came about on Tuesday.
Giuliani’s personal counsel, Jon Sale, released a statement explaining that his client wouldn’t cooperate with the subpoena request.
“Mr. Giuliani will not participate because this appears to be an unconstitutional, baseless, and illegitimate ‘impeachment inquiry,'” Sale’s statement read.
The statement regarding the subpoena was apparently the last action Sale took as Giuliani’s lawyer, as he no longer represents the former New York City mayor, CNBC reported.
NEW @ABC – Giuliani Rebuffing Congressional Subpoena – Rudy tells me his lawyer (who is no longer representing him) has sent a letter to Congress informing them he is not complying. “If they enforce it then we will see what happens." https://t.co/XL166jgVm2
— John Santucci (@Santucci) October 15, 2019
Congress has the power to subpoena individuals, including members of the executive branch, if there’s a compelling reason to do so for their investigatory needs. What happens next is unclear, but an assessment from earlier this year, reported by Reuters, provides some insights.
According to that assessment, Democrats can vote on the matter, finding Giuliani in contempt of Congress, which would allow them to take one of three options after that:
- they can send the sergeant-at-arms to arrest and detain Giuliani, a power that Congress hasn’t exercised since 1927;
- they can request the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to file criminal charges against him (an option that may be difficult to enforce, since the U.S. attorney is technically part of the Justice Department, and thus within the executive branch itself);
- or, they can file a civil lawsuit, after which a judge can fine or imprison Giuliani for contempt of court if he doesn’t appear before Congress.
Another option is possible, too: Congress may take no action at all. This may upset some who want to see Giuliani testify, but given that many of his remarks are part of public record, it may not be necessary, within the impeachment inquiry against Trump, to have Giuliani speak on the record before congressional investigators.