Hillary Clinton and Lois Lerner could be in jail tomorrow, if Speaker, John Boehner, would simply employ this one constitutional provision.
The United States House of Representatives can, and should, use their power to charge Hillary Clinton, Lois Lerner, and any other contemptuous witness with “Inherent Contempt of Congress”. It is the most effective arrow in their quiver for use in pursuing the truth.
The power provides for incarceration of the recalcitrant witness for the duration of the current congress. Since the 114th Congress began January 2015, and the duration of a congress is two years, a witness convicted in the House of Representatives in 2015 may be held until January 2017.
The House of Representatives and the Senate each have their own version of the law, independent of the other, as well as the Courts and the Executive branches. That is to say, if the House charges Hillary Clinton and convicts her of Inherent Contempt, the Sgt. at Arms will take her into custody and imprison her until the end of the duration of the 114th Congress, or the witness provides the required evidence. There is no appeal to the Courts, including the Supreme Court, nor can the President of the United States, or his Cabinet (i.e. Attorney General of the United States) intervene.
If by January 2017, Hillary Clinton does not produce the required documents (ALL of her emails while Secretary of State), the 115th Congress may take up the case and recharge her and hold her for another two years (until January 2019). The same procedures apply to Lois Lerner and her infamous missing emails. Both of these women, should absolutely be subjected to the charges and prosecution for Inherent Contempt of Congress… and then serve their time in jail.
By January 2017, a new administration will be in control of the White House and thus, the Justice Department. If that be the case, then it would be likely that an honest Attorney General would opt to prosecute Hillary Clinton for the numerous violations of the Document Reporting Act, and Obstruction of Justice; In which case, she will sit in a jail cell afforded her by the Justice Department for a sentence imposed by the courts. Her incarceration in the House of Representatives’ jail would not hinder prosecution by the Justice Department.
Unfortunately, it appears that for some unknown reason, Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, refuse to use the best weapon they have at their respective disposal, to get to the truth and to achieve a modicum of justice for the American people.
Under the inherent contempt power of the House, the recalcitrant wit- ness may be arrested and brought to trial before the bar of the House, with the offender facing possible incarceration. 3 Hinds § 1685. The first exercise of this power in the House occurred in 1812, when the House proceeded against a newspaper editor who declined to identify his source of information that had been disclosed in executive session. 3 Hinds §1666. Such powers had been exercised prior to the adoption of the U.S. Constitution by the Continental Congress as well as by England’s House of Lords and House of Commons. Jurney v MacCracken, 294 US 125 (1935).
At the trial of the witness in the House, questions may be put to the witness by the Speaker (2 Hinds § 1602) or by a committee (2 Hinds § 1617; 3 Hinds § 1668). In one instance, the matter was investigated by a commit- tee and the respondent then brought to the bar of the House, and a resolu- tion was reported to the House for its vote. 2 Hinds § 1628.
The inherent power of Congress to find a recalcitrant witness in con- tempt has not been invoked by the House in recent years because of the time-consuming nature of the trial and because the jurisdiction of the House cannot extend beyond the end of a Congress. See Anderson v Dunn, 19 US 204 (1821).
Duration of a Congress
Each Congress lasts two years and is comprised of two sessions. The dates of Congress' sessions have changed over the years, but since 1934, the first session convenes on Jan. 3 of odd-numbered years and adjourns on Jan. 3 of the following year, while the second session runs from Jan. 3 to Jan. 2 of even-numbered years. Of course, everyone needs a vacation, and Congress' vacation traditionally comes in August, when representatives adjourn for month-long summer break. Congress also adjourns for national holidays.