Former National Security official asks judge to determine if he must testify in impeachment probe


Posted on: October 26th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/tupungato(WASHINGTON) — A former National Security official is asking a federal judge in Washington to weigh in on whether he must appear on Monday to testify in the ongoing impeachment probe being led by House Democrats.

The request comes as part of a continued feud between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats over compliance with the congressional impeachment inquiry.

The former aide, Charles Kupperman, served as the United States Deputy National Security Advisor for President Donald Trump. In his role, Kupperman would have worked closely with former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has become a close focus of House Democrats as they zero in on their probe.

In the filing, submitted late Friday evening, Kupperman’s attorney asks the judge to sort out “irreconcilable commands” coming from the House Judiciary committee and the White House.

“Dr. Kupperman filed an action today in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia requesting that the Court issue a Declaratory Judgment determining whether he should comply with the House’s subpoena or with the President’s assertion of immunity and instruction that he not appear and testify,” Kupperman’s attorney, Charles Cooper, said in a statement. “Dr. Kupperman takes no position on whether the command of the Legislative Branch or the command of the Executive Branch should prevail; he seeks only to carry out whichever constitutional obligation the Judicial Branch determines to be lawful and binding on him.”

Kupperman was subpoenaed on Friday to testify as part of the ongoing impeachment investigation.

The Trump administration, however, has maintained that Kupperman is entitled to constitutional immunity from the subpoena because “Congress may not constitutionally compel the president’s senior advisers to testify about their official duties,” due to the separation of powers between the legislative branch and the executive branch.

Kupperman, in the complaint, says that he cannot satisfy the competing demands of both congress and the administration, and asks which branch’s command should prevail.

The lawsuit asks the judge to determine both whether the House’s subpoena is authorized and whether the president’s assertion of constitutional immunity is valid.

Kupperman is currently scheduled to appear before the committee on October 28. Kupperman’s attorney requested that the judge expedite the decision in the case, “in light of the impending impeachment proceedings.”

So far, eight individuals have testified as part of the impeachment probe despite direction from the executive branch for administration officials not to appear. Other administration officials have resisted appearing for testimony and turning over documents.

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