House Democrats and former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman separately asked a federal judge on Monday to blockPresident Trump‘s acting chief of staff from intervening in a lawsuit over subpoenas related to the House’s impeachment
Trump’s top aide,Mick Mulvaney, had filed a motion in DC District Court on Friday seeking to join Kupperman’s lawsuit over a subpoena in order to fight the House Intelligence Committee’s efforts to compel his own testimony.
Kupperman also filed a brief on Monday opposing Mulvaney’s motion arguing that he should be directed to file a separate lawsuit.
The Democrats wrote in their filing that even if the case was not moot at this point, Mulvaney and Kupperman are in very different circumstances.
“While Kupperman seeks a declaration from this Court as to whether he should comply with his subpoena or follow the President’s directive, Mulvaney seeks only a declaration that the House Defendants cannot compel him to comply with his subpoena or take any action a gainst him if he does not, “they wrote. “Unlike Kupperman, Mulvaney does not state that he would comply with his subpoena if this Court rejects the claimed absolute immunity.”
Despite filing a lawsuit, Kupperman has stayed neutral in the fight between the president and the House. He argued in his complaint that he was seeking a court ruling to decide which of the two “irreconcilable commands” he was facing – the congressional subpoena and the White House’s directive not to cooperate – have legal authority.
Mulvaney, meanwhile, is asking the court to block the subpoena he received last week. If Mulvaney’s motion prevails, it would throw him into a lawsuit in which his own boss is a named defendant.
“Mulvaney has publicly discussed the events at issue in the House’s impeachment inquiry, 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), “Kupperman’s filing reads. “Plaintiff, in contrast, has never publicly disclosed information related to any of his official duties, including the matters under investigation by the House.”
Mulvaney later walked back his comments.
The House Democrats pursuing the impeachment investigation, who are embroiled in a mounting number of legal fights with the Trump White House, have made clear that they are not willing to fight for Kupperman’s testimony in court.
Judge Richard Leon, a George W. Bush appointee, will preside over a phone conference with the two sides later on Monday afternoon.