Democratic lawmaker: We should 'march' uncooperative witnesses 'to a little jail'

Rep. John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiLA Mayor Eric Garcetti endorses Biden Impeachment battle lines harden ahead of pivotal week Pelosi faces decision on articles of impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that Trump administration officials and allies of the president who refuse to cooperate with congressional investigations should be held in inherent contempt and taken into custody.

Garamendi told CNN that he had long supported using the power of inherent contempt against noncompliant Trump officials, adding that it was time for Congress to "arm" itself with the full powers of the legislative branch.


"I think it's time to call in the sergeant-at-arms and march them off to our little jail, which we do happen to have," Garamendi said.

"Let them sit there and cool off for a while," he added.

The U.S. Capitol building no longer has a dedicated detention facility on-site, but in the past some rooms have been used to detain those suspected of committing crimes in the building or those held in contempt of Congress, according to the U.S. Capitol website.

"There is no evidence in the records of the Architect of the Capitol of any designated 'guard room' or 'detention area' in the Capitol since [1889]," reads the website.

Democrats have floated the idea of using the power of Congress to fine or imprison potential witnesses who refuse to comply with the House impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE. The White House said Tuesday that it would end any cooperation with that probe.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSekulow indicates White House not interested in motion to dismiss impeachment articles Overnight Health Care: Trump restores funding for Texas program that bars Planned Parenthood | Trump to attend March for Life | PhRMA spent record on 2019 lobbying Key House committee chairman to meet with Mnuchin on infrastructure next week MORE (D-Calif.) has argued that any refusal by the White House to comply with investigators will be used as evidence of the president's intent to obstruct justice.

Garamendi said Wednesday that he thinks the House should hold a formal vote on launching an impeachment inquiry, contradicting Democratic leaders who argue it's unnecessary. He predicted the House would have the votes to launch an inquiry.

"I think 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," Garamendi said during the CNN interview.

Republicans have called for the House to vote on holding a formal impeachment inquiry, and Garamendi said such a vote could occur within a week due to the White House's refusal to comply with Congress.