Democratic Representative John Garamendi argued Wednesday that Congress should start jailing officials from President Donald Trump’s administration who are refusing to cooperate with the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry.
“With regard for inherent contempt, I’ve been for that all along,” Garemendi, who represents California’s 3rd District, said in an interview with CNN.
“I think that if they come and they simply refuse to answer questions, I think it’s time to call in the sergeant at arms, march them off to a little jail, which we do happen to have in one of the rooms of the Capitol,” the congressman threatened.
CNN anchor Poppy Harlow asked Garamendi to clarify his warning, asking if he thinks Attorney General William Barr, former White House lawyer Don McGahn and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland should be placed in jail.
The lawmaker responded by suggesting that was exactly what he meant.
“I would use the full power–and among that is this question of inherent rights of the Congress to hold people,” he said. “I think we ought to be prepared to go all out on this.”
The White House on Tuesday evening sent a scathing letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, and other Democratic leaders stating that it would not comply with the impeachment inquiry.
“In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the executive branch and all future occupants of the office of the presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances,” the letter, signed by White House lawyer Pat Cipollone, said.
Trump had also ordered the State Department to block Sondland from testifying before Congressional committees investigating the president, despite the diplomat expressing his willingness to appear on Tuesday.
Democrats have argued that Trump’s actions are yet another example of “obstruction of justice.”
“It's time for us to put a vote on the floor, a resolution for the inquiry structured in such a way that it can move forward with full power of the Congress behind it. I think that's probably going to come in the next week or so,” @RepGaramendi says. https://t.co/wxkM3m0agi pic.twitter.com/TgbrD2DuBJ
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) October 9, 2019