‘Congress is an independent and co-equal branch of government…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are now threatening to withhold the salaries of Trump administration officials if they refuse to testify.
The committee has tried to force various administration officials to appear before Congress, first threatening to hold them in contempt if they ignored subpoenas, then suggesting jail time, and now the withholding of government pay.
The committee suggested that Interior Department officials have blocked them from interviewing agency employees.
Democrats have sought interviews with the department’s acting chief of staff, along with several other employees.
The agency refused the committee’s requests, telling House Dems that the interviews are “unnecessary at this time,” according to Politico.
“Please be advised that any official at the Department who ‘prohibits or prevents’ or ‘attempts or threatens to prohibit or prevent’ any officer or employee of the federal government form speaking with the committee could have his or her salary withheld pursuant to section 713 of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act,” Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said in a statement.
Cummings accused Cole Rojewski, the Interior Department’s director of congressional and legislative affairs, of being unable to recognize “that Congress is an independent and co-equal branch of government” that has the power to conduct investigations.
The Interior Department has also declined to provide documents the House Oversight Committee requested, which are unrelated to the committee’s investigations, the agency said.
The Democrat-controlled committee has launched a series of investigations into President Donald Trump’s administration, specifically in regards to the Russian collusion hoax and the president’s tax returns, which he is not required to release.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., a member of the committee, threatened to jail members of the Trump administration if they refused to testify before Congress.
“Whether that’s a contempt citation, whether that’s going to court and getting that citation enforced, whether it’s fines, whether it’s possible incarceration—we will go to the max to enforce the constitutional role of the legislative branch of government,” Connolly said.