House Democrats have withdrawn their subpoena of Charles Kupperman, the deputy to former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
The withdrawal comes just two weeks after Kupperman questioned whether he should or should not comply with the original subpoena.
A letter from Kupperman’s attorney, to the House, said his client isn’t contesting a constitutional right to testimony, but rather it’s President Trump who’s asserting testimonial immunity to confidential advisors such as himself. The letter said, that if the committee’s position prevails in court then Kupperman will comply. He filed a lawsuit last week, asking the courts how much he can cooperate after the White House invoked constitutional immunity for Kupperman.
Kupperman, who left the administration when National Security Adviser John Bolton exited in September, was slated to appear before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight Committees last month as part of their impeachment investigation and the Trump-Ukraine controversy.
Filing last month with U.S. District Court in Washington, Kupperman said he “cannot satisfy the competing demands of both the legislative and executive branches.” He said without the court’s help, he would have to make the decision himself, acknowledging that it could “inflict grave constitutional injury” on either Congress or the presidency.
A judge had scheduled a hearing for the matter in December, but that will now likely be canceled. “The subpoena at issue in this matter has been withdrawn and there is no current intention to reissue it,” the court filing stated. “Therefore, this matter is moot and should be dismissed.”
As to why the subpoena was withdrawn, “There is no proper basis for a witness to sue the Congress in court to oppose a duly authorized congressional subpoena,” a House Intelligence Committee official said. “Nevertheless, given the schedule of our impeachment hearings, a court process that leads to the dismissal of Dr. Kupperman’s flawed lawsuit would only result in delay, so we have withdrawn his subpoena.”
The subpoena withdrawal comes as the House announced plans to hold public hearings next week as part of the impeachment probe. Three State Department officials will testify in hearings Nov. 13 and Nov. 15, according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. Schiff is leading the probe.
Schiff tweeted that top Ukraine diplomat William Taylor, career department official George Kent and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify. Yovanovitch was ousted in May at Trump’s direction.
All three have previously testified behind closed doors.