The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot hasn’t ruled out using US Marshals to force Trump aides to comply with the bipartisan panel’s subpoenas, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida warned on Wednesday morning.
‘We intend to enforce our subpoenas, and the first step will be for us to pursue criminal contempt,’ Democrats’ chief deputy whip said on MSNBC.
The January 6 committee sent subpoenas last month to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his former deputy Dan Scavino, and Trump Pentagon official Kash Patel.
Bannon has already publicly declared he won’t cooperate.
It’s not the first time a member of the January 6 panel has threatened criminal contempt charges against the Trump aides – but now Murphy said they might resort to using force.
‘I know we have engaged with a wide variety of law enforcement offices, including the US Marshals, in order to issue the subpoenas,’ Murphy said.
‘We will use all of the agencies and all of the tools at our disposal to issue the subpoenas and enforce them.’
Contempt of Congress charges carry penalties of one to 12 months in jail and fines of up to $100,000.
The lawmaker called on the Justice Department to ‘act on’ those charges, adding that those who refuse to comply should be subjected to imprisonment.
‘My hope is that this Department of Justice will act on that because we have to demonstrate that we are serious about these subpoenas, and that people who try to evade the subpoenas will face the full extent of consequences that is available by the law,’ Murphy said.
‘I would recommend the full extent of consequences – jail time, fines. We need to make sure that these people understand that this is not acceptable.’
The January 6 committee has ordered the four Trump allies to hand over depositions and any documents related to the riot. Lawmakers are also demanding they testify before the panel.
It’s unknown if Patel, the former chief of staff to Trump’s Acting Secretary of Defense, or Meadows will follow the committee’s orders.
Meadows, a former House Representative himself, appeared on Fox News Monday night where he responded to Democrats’ threats of criminal prosecution by saying he’d ‘let the attorneys handle all of that.’
Steve Bannon (left) and Mark Meadows (right) were served subpoenas in connection to the January 6 riot
Former chief of staff to the Acting Defense Secretary under Trump Kash Patel (left) and Trump’s former social media adviser Dan Scavino (right) were also served
He also dismissed the entire investigation as ‘politics as usual’ and Democrats’ attempt to shift focus from the flailing economy.
But Murphy, who was born in Vietnam, compared the January 6 insurrection to the Asian country where she said ‘political violence was the method for political transitions.’
Asked what she would grill Meadows on if he decided to show up before Congress, Murphy said she’d seek to ‘lay out the full set of facts so the American people understand how perilous we were in that moment, how close our democracy was to going over the cliff.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to Meadows for comment.
Yesterday the panel’s vice chair, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, told reporters she expects Meadows and Patel’s depositions this week.
‘We’ll see if they show up. If they show up, we’ll be prepared,’ Cheney said.
‘In general, people are going to have to appear, or, you know, we will move contempt charges against them.’
The bipartisan January 6 committee is gathering information on what led to the Capitol riot
She and Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi released a joint statement earlier this week claiming Meadows and Patel were ‘so far, engaging with the Select Committee.’
They made no mention of Scavino, who was only served his late-September subpoena a few days ago when process servers handed it to an assistant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club while Scavino was in New York.
In addition to the four men, the committee has also scheduled depositions for 11 people connected to rallies that took place on January 6 before the Capitol riot.
Another member of the committee, Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, warned on Tuesday that organizers of those ‘feeder rallies’ could face more than just criminal prosecution if they don’t play ball.
‘Organizers of Jan. 6 feeder rallies have 1 day left to comply with House subpoenas and turn over relevant records to the [January 6 committee],’ Raskin wrote on Twitter.
‘Those who defy a lawful order of Congress to cover up insurrectionary violence will face referral for criminal prosecution—at the very least.’
Rep. Jamie Raskin threatened consequences if the 11 people behind January 6 ‘feeder rallies’ don’t comply with their subpoenas
Trump has told his four embattled former aides not to follow Congress’ orders
But despite their apparently imminent deadline for pursuing those charges, the committee’s website shows no scheduled hearings or meetings.
Donald Trump himself has attacked the committee’s legitimacy on many occasions.
He ordered his four embattled allies to not meet Congress’ demands in a letter obtained by Politico last week.
Trump instructed them to hold back any documents about his White House dealings and to invoke executive privilege whenever possible.
‘President Trump is prepared to defend these fundamental privileges in court,’ the letter read.
But the Biden administration tried to block that move earlier this week. On Monday Biden said he wouldn’t stand in the way of Congress seeking sensitive information on Trump and his aides during January 6.
The Democrat’s decision is a break from the tradition of allowing past presidents to exercise privacy over their in-office records and is likely among the first steps in a lengthy legal battle when Trump challenges his assertions in court.