An attorney for former National Security Advisor John Bolton and his deputy Charlie Kupperman says White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney may be forced to testify in impeachment hearings due to a press conference stumble in which he appeared to admit President Trump tied Ukraine aide to investigation of Democrats.
Attorney Charles Cooper argued in a Monday legal filing that Mulvaney’s since-retracted October remark could open the door to Democrats forcing him to testify.
The filing came as Kupperman rejected Mulvaney’s attempt to join a lawsuit seeking a judgment on whether House Democrats have the power to subpoena Kupperman. Cooper argued various facts, including Mulvaney’s backtracked admission, make the cases too different to combine.
“Mulvaney has publicly discussed the events at issue in the House’s impeachment proceeding, including appearing to admit that there was a quid pro quo relationship between the President’s decision to withhold appropriated financial assistance from Ukraine and a Ukrainian investigation into what happened to a Democratic server in 2016 (an admission he subsequently sought to disavow),” Cooper wrote. “Accordingly, there is a serious question as to whether Mulvaney waived the absolute testimonial immunity claimed by the President such that a judgment in Plaintiff’s case upholding the claim of immunity will not necessarily apply to Mulvaney.”
Democrats dropped a subpoena against Kupperman last week in an apparent move to hasten proceedings and potentially avoid an unfavorable ruling. They did not drop a subpoena seeking Mulvaney’s testimony, but some White House officials told the Washington Examiner they considered Kupperman’s win a blueprint to confront Democrats.
Bolton’s potentially damning testimony is tied to Kupperman’s case. He may implicate Mulvaney in a pressure campaign on Ukraine. Former Bolton aide Fiona Hill testified that Bolton spoke derisively of a “drug deal” being brokered by Mulvaney and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.
Kupperman has taken no position on the validity of the dropped subpoena but said he needs a judge to decide conflicting legal views. Democrats withdrew the subpoena after maverick U.S. District Judge Richard Leon scheduled a Dec. 10 hearing.
Cooper made clear he viewed Mulvaney’s October press conference stumble as potentially lethal to his attempt to avoid testifying.
“Mulvaney has publicly discussed information relating to the matters at the heart of the House’s impeachment proceeding, thus giving rise to a serious question whether Mulvaney waived any immunity that may have otherwise applied to his compelled testimony,” Cooper wrote.
“Mulvaney’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.”
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