(National Sentinel) Impotent: Another day, another congressional subpoena goes ignored because lawmakers long ago abdicated their constitutional authority to force people to appear when they are told to do so.
This time it’s former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who exchanged scores of anti-Trump texts with her one-time lover FBI agent Peter Strzok.
Like him, she was in on the plot to keep POTUS Donald Trump out of the White House if at all possible, then undermine him if he won.
The undermining continues today in the form of a completely bogus special counsel investigation that fired FBI Director James Comey helped set up through his leaking of classified memos.
As for Page, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is demanding that she appear today as scheduled, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
He’s frustrated, and he should be.
He says Congress will use its “full authority” to compel her to testify:
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸🐲 (@kristina_wong) July 11, 2018
But the fact is, Congress won’t use “all tools” at its disposal. Because Congress has given up its most important tools to compel testimony from subpoenaed witnesses to…The Justice Department.
In a May 2017 report on Congress’ contempt power and ability to enforce a duly-issued subpoena, the Congressional Research Service noted:
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. First, the long dormant 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, Congress 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 don’t know that Congress can (and has, in the past) 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.
The reason why malcontents like Lisa Page, Peter Strzok and others who are issued subpoenas defy them so cavalierly is that they know they can get away with doing so.
Some years ago, a Republican Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to provide information regarding the “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal.
He simply refused to cooperate, and as the attorney general in charge of the Executive Branch’s law enforcement division, he was not going to compel himself to cooperate. And of course, his co-conspirator boss, President Obama, wasn’t going to make him comply, either.
So the process of issuing congressional subpoenas and holding people in contempt for ignoring them is broken.
The Congressional Research Service noted this:
A number of obstacles face Congress in any attempt to enforce a subpoena issued against an executive branch official. Although the courts have reaffirmed Congress’s constitutional authority to issue and enforce subpoenas, efforts to punish an executive branch official for non-compliance with a subpoena through criminal contempt will likely prove unavailing in many, if not most, circumstances. Where the official refuses to disclose information pursuant to the President’s decision that such information is protected under executive privilege, past practice suggests that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will not pursue a prosecution for criminal contempt. In addition, although it appears that Congress may be able to enforce its own subpoenas through a declaratory civil action, relying on this mechanism to enforce a subpoena directed at an executive official may prove an inadequate means of protecting congressional prerogatives due to the time required to achieve a final, enforceable ruling in the case. Although subject to practical limitations, Congress retains the ability to exercise its own constitutionally based authorities to enforce a subpoena through inherent contempt.
Only Congress can fix it. The Legislative Branch has the authority to jail and try people who ignore congressional subpoenas and charges of contempt.
It’s obvious that Jeff Sessions isn’t going to do a damned thing to help Congress get to the bottom of a massive scandal that continues to engulf his boss, POTUS Trump.
So lawmakers must do it themselves.
It’s time for Congress to retake its authority to enforce subpoenas and act on charges of contempt.
Otherwise, people like Lisa Page and Peter Strzok will continue to flout duly-elected members of Congress and impede justice.
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