Former interim National Security Advisor Charles Kupperman has filed a lawsuit with the US District Court for the District of Columbia asking whether he is legally obligated to testify in the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump after the White House invoked “constitutional immunity,” The Hill has reported, citing court papers.
“Plaintiff obviously cannot satisfy the competing demands of both the legislative and executive branches, and he is aware of no controlling judicial authority definitively establishing which branch’s command should prevail,” the suit reads.
“The president…has asserted that plaintiff, as a close personal adviser to the president, is immune from congressional process, and has instructed plaintiff not to appear and testify in response to the House’s subpoena,” it adds.
Kupperman was said to have been one of at least four national security officials who expressed concerns over the Trump-Zelensky phone call, which Democrats have taken as their chance to impeach Trump before the 2020 election.
Democratic lawmakers subpoenaed Kupperman in their probe, with the lawyers of former National Security Advisor John Bolton also said to be in touch with the House.
The White House has already used executive privilege to block testimony from several current and foreign officials, with the presidential power enabling persons not to divulge the content of their White House dealings with investigators. Constitutional immunity, meanwhile, allows persons to skip testimony altogether.
Trump appointed Kupperman as his deputy national security advisor in January 2019, with the official previously serving in the Reagan administration, and at US defence concerns Boeing and Lockheed Martin. On September 10, after Bolton was sacked, Kupperman served as interim national security advisor for eight days before being succeeded by Robert O’Brien.
The impeachment probe against President Trump revolves around his phone call with Zelensky, and the allegation that he threatened to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine unless Kiev reopened a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President and 2020 Democratic primary contender Joe Biden. Democrats say they consider such behaviour an illegal attempt by Trump to ‘get dirt’ on his potential opponent. Trump denies any wrongdoing, and the White House has released a transcript of the Zelensky conversation showing no direct evidence of pay-to-play demands on Trump’s part.