- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2019

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer threw cold water on the idea of using inherent contempt to force uncooperative Trump administration officials to comply with congressional subpoenas.

The Maryland Democrat explained that doing so is unnecessary because they are being successful in the courts, which has the power to hold individuals in contempt and ultimately jail them if they refuse.

By deferring to the courts, Mr. Hoyer argued, Democrats hope to maintain the public image of their impeachment inquiry.

“But we made a judgment that we want the American people to understand we are pursuing not arbitrary action, but considered and thoughtful action,” he said.

House Democrats have had a string of victories in the courts recently, including a decision last week validating their ability to issue and enforce a subpoena for President Trump’s financial records.

Mr. Hoyer’s comments came just a day after key officials from the administration — Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper and acting OMB Director Russell Vought — as well as the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani refused to cooperate with Democrats.

The No. 2 House Democrat vowed that there would be consequences.

“Let me tell you, Mr. Giuliani will be held accountable to the government, as we will hold every other individual,” Mr. Hoyer said.

Last week, the White House sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warning her that they wouldn’t cooperate with the impeachment probe until she held a full House vote to authorize and establish equal powers for both parties.

House Democrats have repeatedly warned that refusing to cooperate would not only serve as more evidence of obstruction of justice — an impeachable offense — but also allow them to conclude that the withheld information would corroborate the allegations in the whistleblower report.

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