But Congress has a third option for contempt: It can jail someone until he produces the testimony or documents sought. The advantage here is that Congress can do this all on its own. The last time Congress used contempt to jail was in 1934, when the Senate arrested, tried and then sentenced former Assistant Commerce Secretary William P. MacCracken Jr. to 10 days for allowing the removal and destruction of papers he’d been subpoenaed to produce.
You have to go back even further for the last time Congress impeached an executive-branch official. In 1876, Congress accused Secretary of War William Belknap of using his office for private gain. But if Sally Yates as deputy attorney general could cite the 1799 Logan Act, which no American has ever been convicted of violating, to intervene in the Mike Flynn case, surely Congress needn’t be shy about its Article I constitutional power to impeach.
The obstruction of Justice and the FBI appears rooted in the mistaken idea that they are somehow above the elected representatives of the American people. While Mr. Rosenstein has referred to congressional talk of impeaching him as “extortion,” Mr. Wray, in his statement to a press conference outlining steps to fix the FBI, conspicuously made no mention of better cooperation with Congress.