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What happens if Trump, or anyone from the White House, simply says “No.” to a subpoena from Congress?

From watching several of the Congressional hearings over the last few years, one strategy I’ve seen repeatedly used, is to claim faux “confidentiality” to dodge a difficult question.

See Rep. Raskin bring it up [here](https://www.c-span.org/video/?457414-1/commerce-secretary-ross-2020-census)at 4:34:20.

I assume the next step would be a subpoena. It seems pretty straightforward that a cabinet-member could be help in contempt, but what about Trump himself?

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11 thoughts on “What happens if Trump, or anyone from the White House, simply says “No.” to a subpoena from Congress?

  1. Didnt Nixon refuse the subpoena for the tapes, having it go to the supreme court who decided against him?

    I wonder if one day Trump sees a movie about Nixon and thinks “damn, why didnt anyone tell me what happened to this guy”.

  2. I think this is uncharted territory, like I’m sure trump said “what happens if I just say no,” he asked with force. “I… honestly don’t know,” Mike Pence responded without force, “it’s never been done before.” He added.
    *Trump squeals in orange.*

  3. Basically, we would need to go back to Nixon and the Watergate tapes.

    > The Court ruled that no claim on executive privilege is absolute, and can also be overcome if evidence is needed in a criminal trial.

    https://www.propublica.org/article/the-facts-behind-obamas-executive-privilege-claim

    Basically, he can try and claim executive privilege, but based on an 8-0 Supreme Court ruling, executive privilege does not apply if it’s evidence in an ongoing criminal trial.

    So it would very much be dependent on the exact evidence and how it pertains to a specific case.

    In theory, the court could side with trump’s administration, but that would overturn an 8-0 Supreme Court position and would be insane.

    Edit:

    There is contempt of court for criminal and contempt of court for civil.

    Under civil charges, the house could put someone away for up to a year. But that hasn’t been used since the 1930s.

    Under criminal charges, a referral is sent to DOJ and they’d have the option to pursue charges (which they most likely wouldn’t) and if they did get a conviction, that is something that can be pardoned.

  4. US Marshals would be called in. They serve the federal courts, not the Executive (even though the US Marshals Service is an agency of the executive branch and reports to the AG). They enforce orders issued by federal courts, so if a subpoena is issued then that’s a court order and it’s the Marshals’ job to enforce the subpoena. If they don’t, they’ll lose their job and any chance they had at a pension. There’s not enough Trump supporters in the Marshals to make it impossible to find one willing to enforce a valid court order against Trump.

  5. The House has to sue in federal court. The lawsuit could take a long time to resolve, especially since the White House will likely stonewall and drag their feet.

    Understand that the White House is trying to run out the clock. The reason they refused to turn over anything at all is because they’re not bargaining in good faith. They can’t turn the records over because they will likely reveal scandalous, if not criminal conduct.

    They’re trying to delay releasing anything until either, (1) the next election cycle, where they will try to win the House back, or (2) Trump is out of office.

    Expect this battle to go to the courts and take a very long time to resolve. By then Trump will have done 200 other crazy things and no one will care anymore. That’s his plan.

  6. Why haven’t they changed the Congressional rules for hearings?
    The time allowed should only be tracked when the Congressperson is speaking or asking questions.
    Allowing people to filibuster questions that they would rather not answer by expanding their drawl or asking for questions to be asked again or adding extra nothings to their answers hurts this process.

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