Chris Wray jailed? One lawmaker would like to throw FBI chief in Capitol brig for contempt

'Either he needs to comply or there needs to be severe consequences,' Scott Perry said.

Published: May 30, 2023 11:28pm

Frustrated the FBI won't produce a key piece of subpoenaed evidence in the Biden family corruption probe, the Republican-led House is making preparations to hold Director Christopher Wray in contempt.

And one lawmaker has a preferred penalty: throwing the FBI boss in the U.S. Capitol's secretive detention jail known as the "the brig."

"We can't press charges. But we certainly can refer charges," Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told Just the News on Tuesday.  "And if he shows up on Capitol Hill, if he shows up in the House chamber, he can certainly end up in the brig here.

"I think those are harsh words, but we just cannot have this defiance," Perry said during a wide-ranging interview on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show.

The FBI formally refused Tuesday to turn over to Congress an investigative memo alleging a bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, prompting the chairman of the House Oversight Committee to begin proceedings to hold Wray in contempt.

"Either he needs to comply or there needs to be severe consequences – the most extreme competent consequences that the legislative body can provide for," Perry continued. "That's what needs to happen with an individual like him with his defiance about the truth that the American people deserve and own."

There used to be a cell located in the Capitol basement to hold those in contempt, but it's now gone, according to Roll Call

“I went to the architect of the Capitol and found out where the old Capitol jail was located. There was at one time a jail here in the Capitol where the Congress could imprison citizens who refused to comply with its subpoenas,” Senate counsel Chuck Ludlam said during a 2019 interview.

Then-Architect of the Capitol George M. White told Ludlam that lots of rooms have actually been used to detain those who didn't comply with subpoena requests. 

“Several rooms in the Capitol have evidently been used for detention of offenders," White stated. "They were called ‘Guard Rooms’ and it is not always clear whether those rooms were kept strictly for custody of prisoners or whether they were also used as a guard station,”

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) joked about using the brig to imprison former President Donald Trump's officials who defied Congress in 2019, but ultimately said she wouldn't because it would be "overcrowded."

“We do have a little jail down in the basement of the Capitol, but if we were arresting all of the people in the administration we would have an overcrowded jail situation,” she said during a Washington Post interview. “And I’m not for that.”

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said he still plans to meet with Wray on Wednesday, but noted that the FBI's refusing to comply with a subpoena is unfortunate.

“Today, the FBI informed the committee that it will not provide the unclassified documents subpoenaed by the committee. The FBI’s decision to stiff-arm Congress and hide this information from the American people is obstructionist and unacceptable," Comer said in a statement.

"While I have a call scheduled with FBI Director Wray tomorrow to discuss his response further, the committee has been clear in its intent to protect congressional oversight authorities and will now be taking steps to hold the FBI director in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a lawful subpoena," the statement continued. "Americans deserve the truth, and the Oversight Committee will continue to demand transparency from this nation’s chief law enforcement agency."

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