WASHINGTON — The lawyer for former national security adviser John Bolton signaled Thursday that Bolton will not testify anytime soon in the House impeachment inquiry.
Democratic lawmakers want to hear next week from Bolton over the administration’s approach to Ukraine that is central to House proceedings that could lead to the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Charles Cooper, Bolton’s lawyer, was in federal court Thursday on behalf of another client whose testimony the House also wants.
The client is former Bolton deputy Charles Kupperman, who wants a federal judge to resolve whether he can be forced to testify since he was a close adviser to Trump.
Cooper said Bolton could be added to the case, which is before U.S. District Judge Richard Leon. Cooper has previously said that Bolton would not testify voluntarily. A House-issued subpoena would put him in the exact same situation as Kupperman.
Leon first brought up Bolton, asking whether adding him to the case would cause any delays. Leon said he hopes to issue a ruling by late December.
Cooper said there would be no delay since the legal issue would be the same, whether a small circle of the president’s advisers are “absolutely immune” from having to testify.
Kupperman went to federal court because he “is in a basic Catch-22,” summoned to testify by the House and forbidden to do so by the White House, Cooper said.
Kupperman doesn’t really care how Leon decides the case, but he wants a judge to do so, Cooper said.
The same question of immunity for Trump advisers also was being weighed in another Washington courtroom Thursday. House Democrats and the White House are locked in a legal struggle over a House subpoena for the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn.
There was no indication when U.S. District Judge Ketanji Jackson would rule.