Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed Kupperman's case on Monday, calling the issue "moot" as the US House of Representatives has concluded its impeachment investigation and US President Donald Trump has already been impeached.
Kupperman has asked for the case to continue because he could still face consequences if House reissued subpoena or held him in criminal contempt. Judge Leon said neither were going to happen.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 30, 2019
And even if they did, the case would be right back in court. pic.twitter.com/vkrTxvfdlW
Shortly after the House began its impeachment inquiry into Trump, probing his attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating former US Vice President and 2020 Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, the White House directed members of the federal government's executive branch not to comply with subpoenas for testimony or documents issued by the House committees heading the investigation.
Kupperman, who was the US deputy national security adviser from January until September 2019, covering the period under investigation by House lawmakers, was one of the figures subpoenaed for testimony. Unsure of whether to comply with the legal subpoena or follow Trump's commands not to do so - and judging that either option could potentially land him in hot water if he was wrong - Kupperman filed a suit with the federal courts seeking guidance.
However, as the House concluded its investigation and passed formal articles of impeachment between then and now and the House Intelligence Committee has withdrawn its subpoena, Judge Leon ruled the subpoena was highly unlikely to be reissued and Kupperman cannot be punished for failing to comply, and thus the case was moot.
"Have no doubt though, should the winds of political fortune shift and the House were to reissue a subpoena to Dr. Kupperman, he will face the same conflicting directives that precipitated this suit. If so, he will undoubtedly be right back before this court seeking a solution to a constitutional dilemma that has long-standing political consequences: balancing Congress's well-established power to investigate with a president's need to have a small group of national security advisers who have some form of immunity from compelled congressional testimony," Judge Leon wrote. "Fortunately, however, I need not strike that balance today! Dr. Kupperman's claims are moot, and his case must therefore be dismissed."