NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 9: Don McGahn, lawyer for Donald Trump and his campaign, leaves the Four Seasons Hotel after a meeting with Trump and Republican donors, June 9, 2016 in New York City.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 9: Don McGahn, lawyer for Donald Trump and his campaign, leaves the Four Seasons Hotel after a meeting with Trump and Republican donors, June 9, 2016 in New York City.
Now playing
02:47
White House blocks Don McGahn Congressional testimony
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced his plans to pull all remaining U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 in a final step towards ending America's longest war.
Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced his plans to pull all remaining U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 in a final step towards ending America's longest war.
Now playing
01:03
Biden: It's time to end the forever war
Kinzinger
CNN
Kinzinger
Now playing
05:56
What Republican lawmaker fears after US troops leave Afghanistan
CNN
Now playing
02:45
Sen. Bernie Sanders: Trump was right about this
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., questions witnesses during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Washington.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., questions witnesses during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Washington.
Now playing
02:59
Women detail late-night parties with Gaetz
One shot doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are prepared at a clinic targeting immigrant community members on March 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  The clinic, run by the St. John's Well Child and Family Center, estimates it has vaccinated more than 100,000 people in the Los Angeles area amid reports of two undocumented women who were refused coronavirus vaccinations in Orange County Rite Aid stores. Rite Aid has called the refusals mistakes in a written statement.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images
One shot doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are prepared at a clinic targeting immigrant community members on March 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The clinic, run by the St. John's Well Child and Family Center, estimates it has vaccinated more than 100,000 people in the Los Angeles area amid reports of two undocumented women who were refused coronavirus vaccinations in Orange County Rite Aid stores. Rite Aid has called the refusals mistakes in a written statement. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:48
These unlikely events are still more likely than a blood clot after the J&J vaccine
U.S. Marines conduct an operation to clear a village of Taliban fighters in July 2009 in Mian Poshteh, Afghanistan.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
U.S. Marines conduct an operation to clear a village of Taliban fighters in July 2009 in Mian Poshteh, Afghanistan.
Now playing
03:19
Biden to announce Afghanistan withdrawal by September 11
roger wicker
CNN
roger wicker
Now playing
04:52
Sen. Wicker on Biden's infrastructure plan: Not ruling out tax hike
Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) arrives for a House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing with members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee on Capitol Hill on December 9, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) arrives for a House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing with members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee on Capitol Hill on December 9, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
03:02
Sources say Gaetz was denied meeting with Trump
CNN
Now playing
07:27
CNN anchor pushes back on Texas state lawmaker's defense of voting bill
CNN
Now playing
01:12
Tapper asks Buttigieg for infrastructure plan timeline
Now playing
02:48
GOP governor calls Trump's RNC remarks 'divisive'
WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 19, 2018:  The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Judicial Branch of government. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 19, 2018: The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Judicial Branch of government. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:39
SCOTUS blocks California Covid restriction on religious activities
rep jim clyburn georgia voting law jim crow sot sotu vpx_00000000.png
rep jim clyburn georgia voting law jim crow sot sotu vpx_00000000.png
Now playing
02:13
Rep. Clyburn blasts GA voting law: It's the 'new Jim Crow'
Gaetz speaks to members of the media outside the hearing Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testifies at before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at Rayburn House Office Building February 27, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Last year Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful excessive campaign contributions and lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Gaetz speaks to members of the media outside the hearing Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testifies at before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at Rayburn House Office Building February 27, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Last year Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful excessive campaign contributions and lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
Now playing
06:11
'Bombastic, antagonistic, unapologetic': A look at Gaetz's political career
Former House Speaker John Boehner attends a ceremony to unveil a portrait of himself on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 in Washington.
Michael A. McCoy/AP
Former House Speaker John Boehner attends a ceremony to unveil a portrait of himself on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 in Washington.
Now playing
02:42
Boehner says Republican colleague held 10-inch knife to his throat outside House floor
(CNN) —  

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is pushing to empower committee chairs to hold individuals in contempt of Congress without going to the floor for a full House vote, a move that could expedite Democrats’ ability to punish anyone who defies their subpoenas but also risk further escalating tensions between congressional Democrats and the White House.

Nadler told his colleagues at a meeting Thursday that he’s looking at the change as a way to avoid clogging up the floor with contempt citations in the face of near all-out resistance to Democratic subpoenas, according to a source in the room.

The New York Democrat also wants to hold a floor vote on a contempt package the week of June 4, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, told CNN on Thursday. That would include a vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt and possibly former White House counsel Don McGahn. Yet a number of Democrats are pushing to levy heavy fines on McGahn to warn future witnesses to comply with House subpoenas.

It’s unclear whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, will embrace this change to expedite contempt citations, since doing so could set a precedent for future House majorities to give more power to their chairmen at the expense of their leadership.

Nadler’s committee has already voted to hold Barr in contempt. It has not yet done so with McGahn, but Nadler vowed to punish McGahn when he failed to testify under subpoena at a hearing this week after the White House directed him not to appear.

A faction of House Democrats have been pushing for invoking Congress’ inherent contempt powers, which have not been used in nearly a century, to fine those who defy congressional subpoenas. Some Democrats have suggested McGahn could be a good test case for inherent contempt as a former White House official.

A Democratic leadership aide said the House is still considering whether to hold floor votes the first week when Congress returns in June following a one-week recess. The idea of empowering committee chairs to hold people in contempt of Congress is also under discussion, the aide said, but it has not been finalized.

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat who has been frustrated by the Trump administration’s response to his subpoenas but hasn’t moved to hold anyone in contempt, said Thursday that he supported the change proposed by Nadler.

Allowing committee chairmen to handle contempt charges without involving the full House has several ramifications.

It would expedite the process for committees eager to go to court to enforce their subpoenas, separating it from the whims of the floor schedule. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said allowing committees to hold individuals in contempt would avoid “clogging the floor.”

“The rationale for empowering the committees to hold people in contempt is we will be able to save floor time for prescription drug reform and health care and the Equality Act and the Dream Act,” Raskin said. “So we will be able to both play offense on public policy while we’re defending the Constitution.”

It also would help vulnerable Democrats in districts Trump won from having to repeatedly take votes on contempt. But it could dilute the impact of the contempt votes in court and public opinion if they wouldn’t have the weight of the full House behind them.

Nadler declined to comment Thursday on allowing committee chairs to hold individuals in contempt or whether the House will hold contempt votes the first week in June.