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Tlaib Floats Detaining White House Officials in Detroit for Refusing to Comply with Subpoenas

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, July 18, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) suggested this week at a town hall that local Detroit law enforcement officers could detain White House officials who refuse to comply with subpoenas issued by Democrats, quipping that, “we won’t hurt them.”

The freshman Democrat nodded in agreement with a town hall attendee who suggested U.S. Marshals “hunt down” White House officials if they “refuse to leave power.”

Tlaib responded that the current situation is “unprecedented” and said Democratic lawmakers have discussed what the correct process might be to arrest non-compliant White House officials.

“This is the last caucus conversation we had. Do you know this is really unprecedented?” Tlaib said. “This is the first time we’ve ever had a situation like this. So they’re trying to figure out – no joke – they’re trying to figure out, well, is it the D.C. police that goes and gets them?”

House Democrats have subpoenaed several Trump administration officials for thousands of documents, some of which relate to the formal impeachment inquiry against the president. Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents involving the Trump administration’s communications with Ukraine.

“Where do we hold them? I’m not in those kinds of conversations, but I’m asking, like, you know, what happens?” Tlaib said, adding that she has been told this is “uncharted territory.”

“They’re trying to be like, well where are we going to put them?” the outspoken progressive continued. “I’m like you all. I ask the same questions. Well what happens when they don’t comply? The fact of the matter is, we held Barr and Secretary Ross from commerce, the secretary of commerce, in contempt.”

In July, the House voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for defying congressional subpoenas regarding the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 census.

“I will tell them they can hold all those people right here in Detroit,” Tlaib said of the cabinet secretaries. “We’ll take care of them and make sure they show up to the committee hearings. We won’t hurt them.”

Tlaib has called for Trump’s impeachment since she began campaigning for Congress. She made headlines in November for promising during a speech to a crowd of supporters near Capitol Hill that, “we’re gonna go in there and impeach the motherf—er.'”

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