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Rep. Adam Schiff at an Axios event with Mike Allen. Photo: Lawrence Jackson for Axios

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told Axios' Mike Allen Friday that the House is considering reviving its "inherent contempt" power, which would allow Congress to enforce subpoenas through coercive measures like fines.

"Much as I like the visual of [throwing people in jail], I think it's far more practical to consider levying individual fines on the person — not the office — until they comply. You could fine someone $25,000 a day until they comply. You can do that. We're looking through the history and studying the law to make sure we're on solid ground."

Why it matters: House Democrats don't have much power to enforce their subpoenas if the Trump administration continues its strategy of stonewalling congressional oversight. Schiff noted that the White House has already been successful in drawing out the timeline, and that House leadership will have to consider "extraordinary" measures in order to ensure that Congress remains a co-equal branch of government.

  • Schiff also said that he believes Democrats will obtain Trump's tax returns this year, though it may take months to litigate in the courts: "The legislation is abundantly clear. The commissioner 'shall' provide."

Go deeper: House Judiciary Committee votes to hold AG Bill Barr in contempt

Go deeper

CPAC Republicans choose conservatism over constituents

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CPAC proved such a draw, conservative Republicans chose the conference over their constituents.

Why it matters: More than a dozen House Republicans voted by proxy on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in Washington so they could speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. And Sen. Ted Cruz skipped an Air Force One flight as President Biden flew to Cruz's hometown of Houston to survey storm damage.

Border Democrat warns Biden about immigrant fallout

Henry Cuellar (right). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

A Democratic lawmaker representing a border district warned the Biden administration against easing up too much on unauthorized immigrants, citing their impact on his constituents, local hospitals and their potential to spread the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios he supports President Biden. But the moderate said he sees the downsides of efforts to placate pro-immigrant groups, an effort that threatens to blow up on the administration.

3 hours ago - World

Iran rejects nuclear talks with U.S., for now

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at Iran/EU talks in 2015. Photo: Carlos Barria/POOL/AFP via Getty

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that conditions are not ripe for informal nuclear talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers.

Why it matters: The Biden administration had proposed the talks as part of its efforts to negotiate a path back to the 2015 nuclear deal. The White House expressed disappointment with Iran's response, but said it remained willing to engage with Tehran.