What is contempt of Congress?
When someone obstructs Congress from doing its job, Congress can hold that person in “contempt.” This usually happens when someone refuses to testify or provide documents that were subpoenaed during a congressional investigation. And it’s a big deal only reserved for the most egregious examples: Congress has found fewer than 30 people in contempt since 1980.
In our constitutionally-based system, Congress is a coequal branch of government, with its own powers and duties — duties which Trump and his administration have routinely ignored or stonewalled. The purpose of contempt is to force compliance, punish the individual, and remove the obstruction.