Schiff Threatens Criminal Action Over Blatant Trump Obstruction

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As the House committee investigating the Capitol riot continues its work, a predictable hurdle for the panel to overcome has emerged: Donald Trump has (through a lawyer) instructed four allies of his who were recently subpoenaed by the committee not to comply. In a letter to one of those facing a subpoena, the Trump lawyer claimed that the riot investigation committee is pursuing details that should be considered to be covered by executive privilege — although committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) has mocked the concept that Trump, as a former president, has such privilege. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), another committee member, spoke out as well this week, putting Trump on notice.

Schiff indicated that those behind the subpoenas are prepared to pursue legal remedies for non-compliance. Convictions on charges of contempt of Congress come with penalties including up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000, POLITICO notes. Schiff commented as follows:

‘The former president is still trying to stonewall subpoenas. But this time, we have a Justice Department devoted to the rule of law. This time, lawbreaking witnesses must weigh the prospect of criminal prosecution. Americans deserve answers. We will make sure they get them.’

Those four individuals who were subpoenaed first include former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon, former Defense Department official Kash Patel, and former deputy chief of staff in the Trump White House Dan Scavino. POLITICO noted that it “remains to be seen if the former Trump officials will follow Trump’s directions,” but each of the ones subpoenaed are closely allied with the former president, so observers could probably expect that they’ll ally themselves with Trump in the fight. The committee has, in the time since, subpoenaed other individuals connected to Trump, like former Trump campaign official Katrina Pierson, who has been reported to have served as a “liaison” of sorts between the Trump White House and rally efforts in D.C. on the day of the riot. The committee has now also subpoenaed “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander.