In Trump probes, Congress wary of power to arrest, fine | News

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By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A power that the U.S. Congress has not wielded since the 1930s may remain unused for a while longer as Democrats turn to the courts — not long-dormant rules — to press home investigations of President Donald Trump and his administration.

Democratic leaders are reluctant to use the “inherent contempt” power, under which Congress can jail or fine people who defy its subpoenas, to end stonewalling by Trump’s inner circle, said Representative Steve Cohen, a Democrat, and member of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

Inherent contempt is “a tool that’s got advantages and disadvantages,” the committee’s chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said recently. While it is still an option, he added, “It’s not the most useful thing at the moment.”

Last invoked more than 80 years…

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