Tlaib: Democrats Looking Into How to Arrest Trump Officials

October 3, 2019

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) said Democratic lawmakers are exploring how to arrest White House officials who do not comply with congressional subpoenas.

Tlaib told Detroit constituents at her "Congress, Coffee, and Conversation" event on Tuesday that lawmakers are focused on how best to take cabinet members into custody. "This is the first time we've ever had a situation like this," she said. "So they're trying to figure out, no joke, is it the D.C. police that goes and gets them? We don't know. Where do we hold them?"

An America Rising PAC tracker caught Tlaib on video speculating what could happen to Trump administration officials held in contempt of Congress. The congresswoman pointed to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr, who were both held in criminal contempt of Congress for defying congressional subpoenas.

The House of Representatives voted to ask the Justice Department to prosecute Barr and Ross by a margin of 230 to 198. It was the second time in U.S. history a sitting cabinet member was held in criminal contempt of Congress. The first was former attorney general Eric Holder, whom the Republican-controlled House held in contempt in 2012 after Holder refused to turn over documents pertaining to the Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal.

Tlaib said her colleagues are "trying to tread carefully" in this "uncharted territory."

"I will tell them they can hold all those people right here in Detroit," she joked. "We'll take care of them and make sure they show up to the committee hearings."

With the House's impeachment inquiry underway, questions remain as to how House Democrats will compel the Trump administration to cooperate.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a letter to Congress on Tuesday informing lawmakers that State Department officials would not be testifying in front of congressional committees. He characterized subpoena efforts as an "attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State."

One former State Department official already testified Thursday despite Pompeo's objections.

Tlaib's colleague, Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.), tweeted that President Trump "needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement." She later clarified she was not serious about the demand.