Talk of 'Jail on Capitol Hill' as Democrats Fight Trump

Dems mull their options as Trumps blocks investigations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 4, 2019 10:55 AM CDT
Talk of Fines, Jail Time as Dems Fight Trump
Whether fact or folklore, this small space in the basement of the Capitol with steel bars is sometimes referred to as the old "House jail," but it used today to protect the cherished Lincoln Catafalque, the pedestal for caskets used during state funerals, in Washington, Friday, May 3, 2019.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

They're talking about jailing people at the Capitol. Imposing steep fines. All sorts of extraordinary, if long-shot measures to force the White House to comply with Democratic lawmakers' request for information about President Trump stemming from the special counsel's Russia investigation, the AP reports. This is the remarkable state of affairs between the executive and legislative branches, unseen in recent times, as Democrats try to break through Trump's blockade of investigations and exert congressional oversight of the administration. Trump's blanket refusal to engage in oversight—and Democrats' unrelenting demand that he do so—is testing the system of checks and balances with a deepening standoff in the aftermath of Robert Mueller's investigation.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, has given Attorney General William Barr a Monday deadline to comply with a subpoena demanding an unredacted version of Mueller's report, along with its underlying evidence, or face a contempt charge. Nancy Pelosi noted this week that obstructing Congress was one of the articles of impeachment against President Nixon. Short of that, lawmakers are considering options for Barr and others. There's a long history of lawmakers holding officials in contempt. They can sue for compliance with the threat of fines. Some lawmakers are suggesting censuring the attorney general or impeaching him. Others have called for Barr to resign. And then there's talk of jailing people on Capitol Hill, but the House and Senate say stories of jail facilities existing on the Hill are innacurate.

(Read more Capitol Hill stories.)

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