Sunday on her weekend morning program, MSNBC's Joy Reid seriously discussed a situation where President Trump refused a subpoena and would have to be arrested and put in jail until he testified before a grand jury. Reid envisioned a scenario of a White House besieged by federal marshals who would wait for Trump to give the Secret Service a stand down order so he could be taken into custody.
"Let's say that Donald Trump decides he doesn't want to give an interview with Mueller, but Mueller says 'Oh, but you will.' And he's subpoenaed to [be] interview[ed] [by] Robert Mueller. And Donald Trump simply says, 'I don't recognize that subpoena.' This is a president whose behavior is different as president of the United States. He doesn't follow convention. Who would force him to comply with the subpoena ordering him to do an interview with Robert Mueller?" Reid asked.
"It would be a federal court judge," former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman said.
"How would they enforce it?" she asked.
"Normally, a person who refuses to testify before a grand jury winds up being incarcerated for the time period of the grand jury which can be up to 18 months," Akerman said. "So, one way to enforce it is to have Donald Trump taken by the federal marshals and put into federal prison until he testifies."
"What if he refuses to open the White House door?" Reid asked, seriously. "What if he fires any Secret Service agent who would allow the federal marshals in? What if Donald Trump simply decides I don't have to follow the law? 'I refuse to be held under the law. No marshal can get into this White House and any Secret Service agent who defies me is fired.'"
"Well, at some point he is going to have to come out of the White House," Akerman answered. "At some point, he is going to have to leave and the U.S. Marshals will be directed to take him into custody, bring him before a federal district court judge. He'll be basically told that either he goes in and he testifies or he takes the Fifth Amendment. If he takes the Fifth Amendment, there's not a problem. If he refuses to answer on the grounds that a truthful answer would tend to incriminate him he has the right to do that. If he does that, there's no contempt. If he doesn't do that, he can be directed to go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. End of story."
As the discussion continued Akerman talked about a bench warrant for Trump and how that would play out with law enforcement. Reid also conceived a situation where Trump wouldn't "recognize the authority" of investigators while "an entire media chorus" would be there to encourage him to be defiant, something she said Nixon did not have.