Dem Rep Advocates Jailing Witnesses in Impeachment Inquiry

October 9, 2019

A California Democrat is pushing to jail cabinet officials and other potential witnesses if they refuse to answer questions related to the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Rep. John Garamendi (D., Calif.) told CNN host Poppy Harlow that Congress has the power to hold hostile witnesses in "inherent contempt" if they refuse to behave according to the body's wishes. Various House Democrats have made similar arguments since they began investigating potential Russian involvement in President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

"I think that when the witnesses come and they simply refuse to answer questions, I think it's time to call in the sergeant at arms, march them off to a little jail, which we do happen to have in one of the rooms of the Capitol, and let them sit there and cool off for a while," Garamendi said.

"So you'd put Ambassador Sundland, Bill Barr, Don McGahn in jail?" Harlow asked.

"I would use the full power, and among that is this question of inherent rights of the Congress to hold people," Garamendi replied. "I think we ought to be prepared to go all out on this."

In the wake of the Mueller investigation in May, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, with little effect.