Explained: House Select Committee's contempt charges plan for January 6 probe
US Congress can use three forms of contempt charges
Multiple people who were summoned by the Congress failed to comply
Criminal contempt can lead to a prison sentence
The House Select Committee, which has been given the responsibility of investigating the January 6 riots in Washington DC, seems to be ramping up pressure on those who have failed to comply with a subpoena. The apparent solution of the committee seems to be contempt procedures.
What is contempt?
Contempt directly means a procedure adopted by a judicial body against another party, who usually fails to cooperate and flouts rules set by the body. There are mainly three forms of contempt.
The idea of adopting such measures has been floated by lawmakers of the United States House of Representatives who also occupy a position in the select committee.
Criminal contempt is a form of procedure that would require executive approval from the United States President after Congress has deliberated and voted on the motion. Criminal contempt can result in an individual being charged and prosecuted criminally.
A prison sentence can be possible for the accused with the term possibly extending over a month.
Liz Cheney, one of the few Republican lawmakers in the panel, said in a statement, "People will have the opportunity to cooperate. They will have the opportunity to come in and work with us as they should. If they fail to do so, then we will enforce our subpoenas", according to reports from CNN.
One of the lesser-used ways, inherent contempt usually does not involve any approval. Lawmakers in the body can instruct the sergeant-at-arms to detain or imprison the person in contempt until he or she honors congressional demands.
Unlike with criminal contempt, civil contempt would see Congress ask the judicial branch to enforce a congressional subpoena, according to reports from CNN. In other words, Congress would seek a federal court's civil judgment saying the person is legally obligated to comply with the subpoena.