Judge dismisses lawsuit filed by ex-Bolton aide over impeachment subpoena

The Hill is reporting that because a House impeachment inquiry subpoena previously issued to an aid to former National Security Adviser John Bolton has been withdrawn, a lawsuit that had been filed in the matter is now being dismissed. 

Charles Kupperman was among those listening to the July telephone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, prompting House Democrats to seek his testimony in the impeachment inquiry.

Kupperman filed a lawsuit in response, arguing that he had been ordered by the White House not to cooperate and requesting that the court resolve the question once and for all.

Dismissed for mootness

On Monday, Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the question was now moot because Democrats had withdrawn their subpoena and had made an “unequivocal” promise that another one would not be issued.

As such, Leon wrote that Kupperman “accordingly lacks any personal stake in the outcome of this dispute” and therefore the claim “should be dismissed.”

The federal judge said he was sympathetic to Kupperman’s situation — which Kupperman’s attorney described as a “classic Catch-22” —  given his own previous work experience in the federal government.

He also said that case would have been difficult to adjudicate given the need to weigh “Congress’s well-established power to investigate” against “a President’s need to have a small group of national security advisors who have some form of immunity from compelled Congressional testimony.”

Thus, Leon seemed pleased that Kupperman’s case could be dismissed for mootness, stating, “Fortunately, however, I need not strike that balance today!”

Leon went on to say that he didn’t think Kupperman’s expressed fear that the subpeona could be re-issued was reasonable or that there was a likelihood that he could be held in contempt in of Congress. “Both of these arguments are lacking in merit,” he concluded.

Impeachment remains stalled

Although the House has wrapped up its portion of the impeachment proceedings, the question of witnesses remains a contentious issue.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has yet to deliver either of the impeachment articles to the Senate for a trial, a tactic she is using to try and pressure Republicans into calling more people to testify.

“We haven’t ruled out witnesses,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Fox News last week. “We’ve said let’s handle this case just like we did with President Clinton – fair is fair.” Whether or not Kupperman would be among those called remains to be seen.

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