(National Sentinel)Â Ultimate Authority: On Wednesday we reported that Congress needs to re-exert its historic and constitutional authorities to require anyone who has been served a subpoena to appear and anyone who has been held in contempt charged and prosecuted.
We were talking specifically about former FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s refusal to respond to a congressional subpoena for testimony.
But Page and many others in recent years haveÂ simply ignored congressional subpoenas because have never been held accountable, legally, or prosecuted for being held in contempt (Obama’s AG Eric Holder comes to mind).
The Constitution is very clear on congressional authority when it comes to enforcingÂ congressional demands and actions. As the Congressional Research Service noted in a 2017 analysis:
Congress has three formal methods by which it can combat non-compliance with a duly issued subpoena. Each of these methods invokes the authority of a separate branch of government.Â First, theÂ long dormantÂ inherent contempt power permits Congress to rely on its own constitutional authority to detain and imprison a contemnor until the individual complies with congressional demands. Second, the criminal contempt statute permits Congress to certify a contempt citation to the executive branch for the criminal prosecution of the contemnor. Finally, CongressÂ may rely on the judicial branch to enforce a congressional subpoena. Under this procedure, Congress may seek a civil judgment from a federal court declaring that the individual in question is legally obligated to comply with the congressional subpoena.
Many Americans donâ€™t know that Congress can (and has, in the past)Â jailed people who refuse to comply with subpoenas and are summarily held in contempt.
But long ago Congress abdicated this authority to the Executive Branch and to the Judicial Branch to assist the Legislative Branch with carrying out its constitutional oversight duties.
We say it is time for Congress toÂ take back its prosecutorial authority because relying on a politicized Justice Department isn’t working out so well.
Now, one GOP lawmaker appears to agree.
On Wednesday, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said if it takes putting Lisa Page in handcuffs and bringing her to Capitol Hill by force in order to get her to comply with a congressional subpoena, so be it.
Earlier this week Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he would consider a motion to hold Page in contempt if she refuses to comply.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said a charge could be levied by Friday. He said U.S. Marshals were sent to her home Wednesday to serve the subpoena.
Zeldin says it’sÂ time to use full congressional authority to compel her testimony.
If it requires handcuffs to get Lisa Page, an employee of the fed govt, to abide by a Congressional subpoena to testify & answer questions then so be it. Working for the FBI is a great privilege, but Page doesn’t become her own branch of govt in charge of her own set of fed laws.
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) July 11, 2021
“If it requires handcuffs to get Lisa Page, an employee of the fed govt, to abide by a Congressional subpoena to testify & answer questions then so be it. Working for the FBI is a great privilege, but Page doesnâ€™t become her own branch of govt in charge of her own set of fed laws,” he tweeted.
Page’s refusal to testify in Congress shows even more contempt for the American people, accountability & transparency, than it shows contempt of Congress. This former top FBI official & Strzok accomplice should be held in contempt & brought to Capitol Hill by force if necessary.
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) July 11, 2021
“Pageâ€™s refusal to testify in Congress shows even more contempt for the American people, accountability & transparency, than it shows contempt of Congress. This former top FBI official & Strzok accomplice should be held in contempt & brought to Capitol Hill by force if necessary.”
Yes! It’s about time!
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