Top Ex-Bolton Aide Uses Courts To At Least Temporarily Delay Testifying

The National Security Advisor of the United States, John Bolton talks to Miami Herald on Latin American policy at the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower on November 1, 2018.
Former NSA John Bolton (Emily Michot/Miami Herald via AP)
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October 28, 2019 9:34 a.m.

Charles Kupperman, who worked as deputy national security adviser until September and currently shares a lawyer with former National security Adviser John Bolton, will not testify Monday as originally planned. He is instead waiting on a judge to decide whether he has to comply with the House subpoena.

Though it has seemed unlikely that Kupperman would show up since late last week, CNN confirmed that he’d be a no-show Monday morning.

In a letter sent Sunday by his lawyer, Charles Cooper, to attorney for the House Intel Committee Daniel Noble, Cooper assures him that Kupperman “will comply with the Court’s judgment” if it comes down on the committees’ side.

Cooper submitted a lawsuit on Friday in D.C. District Court, asking the judge to decide if the subpoena is “valid” under House rules, and whether Kupperman is covered under White House lawyer Pat Cipollone’s assertion that he is “absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony with respect to matters related to his service as senior adviser to the President.”

Kupperman, unlike Bolton, actually listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Kupperman’s legal gymnastics to avoid or delay testifying may signal how Bolton will ultimately react if he’s subpoenaed as well. So far, House Democrats have only been in talks with Bolton’s lawyer about his testimony.

Bolton is considered a highly valued voice, after being name-dropped so many times in top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor’s testimony. In those episodes, Bolton frequently pushed back against the pressure campaign and tried to involve White House lawyers and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the escalating situation.

Meanwhile, the impeachment inquiry continues to heat up, with a report this weekend confirming that ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland testified to the House committees on October 17 that the Biden quid pro quo was at the center of Trump’s Ukrainian dealings.

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