Updated Dec 30, 2019

Judge dismisses lawsuit from Bolton deputy subpoenaed in impeachment inquiry

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A federal judge on Monday dismissed and declared moot a lawsuit by former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman, who was seeking a ruling on whether to comply with a subpoena in the House's impeachment inquiry or a directive from the White House blocking his testimony.

The big picture: The House committees conducting the investigation into President Trump's dealings with Ukraine withdrew Kupperman's subpoena in November, believing that they could move forward with impeachment without getting tangled up in a prolonged court battle.

  • Republicans and others have criticized House Democrats for rushing the impeachment process and declining to go to court to enforce their subpoenas for key witnesses.

Between the lines: A judge ruled in November that former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify under subpoena in the House's impeachment inquiry. The ruling has been appealed, but it remains the only decision by a judge testing the Trump administration's theory of "absolute immunity."

  • Charles Cooper, an attorney who represents both Kupperman and former national security adviser John Bolton, has argued that the McGahn ruling does not apply to national security officials.
  • House Democrats had hoped that Bolton and other officials may use the ruling to justify cooperating with the impeachment inquiry.

Go deeper: Trump aides fear John Bolton's secret notes

Go deeper

Bolton says he will testify in impeachment trial if Senate issues subpoena

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton said Monday that he would testify in President Trump's impeachment trial should the Senate issue a subpoena.

Why it matters, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: Bolton was the most prolific note-taker at the top level of the White House and probably has more details than any impeachment inquiry witness, so far, about President Trump's machinations on Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 6, 2020

Reality check: Trump claims Bolton would "know nothing" about impeachment charges

President Trump said Tuesday that former national security adviser John Bolton "would know nothing about what we're talking about" if he testified in the Senate impeachment trial, adding that it will be "up to the lawyers" and the Senate to decide whether he appears.

Reality check: A number of witnesses told the House impeachment inquiry that Bolton was present in several meetings and conversations related to President Trump's decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine. Axios also reported in November that current and former administration officials believe Bolton was the most prolific note-taker at the top level of the White House.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

Key GOP senators don't want to subpoena Bolton

John Bolton during a meeting with Belarus' president Alexander in September. Photo: Yuri Oreshkin\TASS via Getty Images

Key Senate Republicans are refusing to give a clear answer on whether President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton should be subpoenaed to testify in an eventual impeachment trial, after he stated Monday that he would comply with a Senate subpoena.

Why it matters: Bolton has firsthand knowledge of Trump's direct conversations about Ukraine aid. The big question heading into this week is whether rebel Republican Senators are even remotely thinking about joining Democrats’ demands for the Senate to call witnesses and request documents from key figures being blocked by the White House.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020