Not long ago, I posted a commentary called “What If They Gave an Impeachment and Nobody Came?” Well, we may find out. Charles Kupperman, a top deputy to former national security advisor John Bolton, was a no-show at his scheduled closed-door deposition. Though Schiff’s committee had subpoenaed him to appear, he instead has asked a federal court for “judicial clarity” on whether or not he's legally required to be there.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, who is running the so-called “impeachment inquiry,” said Kupperman’s suit has “no basis in law,” but based on what we’ve seen lately, I’d say that depends on what judge is looking at the case and how much that judge cares about balance of power.
House Democrats say they’ll move forward with their “inquiry,” and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has even said she’ll (finally) bring a vote to the floor on Thursday to authorize it. (House Republicans, for what it’s worth, are saying her effort at this point is “too little, too late.") Rather than engage in lengthy legal battles to obtain testimony from witnesses such as Kupperman, they’ll just blame the non-cooperation on Trump and write articles of impeachment attributing any no-shows to an order from the White House. Schiff said as much to reporters outside the hearing room: “I’m sure that if [officials] fail to appear, they will be building a very powerful case against the President for obstruction.”
Schiff continued, “We are not willing to allow the White House to engage us in a lengthy game of rope-a-dope in the courts.” It seems very important to House Democrats right now to rush ahead with their impeachment effort and not be delayed even for a day or two by such inconvenient technicalities as court rulings. They act as if they’re omnipotent and not even subject to court rulings. Waiting for such a ruling...is obstruction?? Well, yes, if Trump has asked for it.
In Kupperman’s lawsuit, he says that he “cannot satisfy the competing demands of both the legislative and executive branches.” In other words, he needs to know: who gets the final say, Congress or the White House? He was working for the White House,so you’d think executive privilege would be a valid concern. Without the court’s help, he’d have to make his choice alone, when that decision could inflict “grave constitutional injury” on either Congress or the presidency. Schiff and the House Democrats obviously don’t care at all about constitutional injury; if they did, they’d wait for a judge to rule. “Given the issue of separation of powers in this matter,” Kupperman said in a statement, “it would be reasonable and appropriate to expect that all parties would want judicial clarity.”
Indeed. But the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees, which all are playing some role in overseeing Schiff’s committee, don’t find it to be reasonable and appropriate at all and wrote to Kupperman’s lawyers that his suit was without merit and “appeared” to be coordinated with the White House. The letter refers to it as an “obvious and desperate tactic by the President to delay and obstruct the lawful constitutional functions of Congress and conceal evidence about his conduct from the impeachment inquiry.”
Kupperman’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, wrote back to reassure them that his client will cooperate with the judge either way. He said it was not Kupperman who was challenging Congress’ constitutional claims. “It is President Trump, and every President before him for at least the last half century, who have asserted testimonial immunity to their closest constitutional advisers. If your client’s position on the merits of this issue are correct, it will prevail in court, and Dr. Kupperman, I assure you again, will comply with the court’s judgment.”
See, if the Democrats would just WAIT. But once again, they’re proving they don’t care about getting it right, only about getting Trump. They want to keep gathering steam. I get the distinct idea that they realize if they wait, they will either lose their momentum or be hit by the Durham and/or Horowitz investigations with evidence of deeds so egregious that their bogus “inquiry” will be seen for what it is.
Now that Kupperman has defied his subpoena, it’s unclear whether two other witnesses scheduled to testify this week, current national security White House staffers Alexander Vindman and Tim Morrison, will appear.
Laura Ingraham on Monday night’s INGRAHAM ANGLE invited go-to law professor Alan Dershowitz and former deputy Attorney General John Yoo to weigh in on the court showdown over this “inquiry” and what Trump should be doing to fight back. Yoo stressed that Trump has to fight for the office of the Presidency, to preserve its power for those who follow after him. “He can’t let the House get away with conducting an 'impeachment on the cheap,” Yoo said. He recommends that Trump claim executive privilege, "the right for all of his aides to refuse to testify and reveal the secrets that are discussed between them and the President, so that it allows for the best kinds of decisions possible.” He also recommended that they refuse to provide documents until the full House votes (even if that vote is mainly symbolic) and until they agree to have “a fair, open and transparent process so the American people can judge for themselves” if there is real evidence of any high crime and misdemeanor. But at this point, is it too late for Trump to have a fair process, as many Republicans feel?
Likely so. In fact, Alan Dershowitz, tongue only slightly in cheek, warned Yoo that in advising Trump to use executive privilege as a reason for his aides not to cooperate, he himself might be charged by Schiff with obstruction. “According to Adam Schiff, he [Yoo] is part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice. Adam Schiff calls it a rope-a-dope. There’s another word for it; it’s called ‘checks and balances,’ ‘separation of powers.’” This isn’t something that either Congress or the President gets to resolve, he said. The courts do. “Schiff should not be demeaning our system by calling it rope-a-dope,” he said.
Dershowitz noted that Schiff is already getting away from the Zelensky transcript –- of course he is, as there’s nothing in it –- and moving ahead on obstruction. (I would add that this is EXACTLY what the special counsel tried to do after their “Trump/Russia” investigation turned up no conspiracy with Russia.) He advises that Trump add more Constitution specialists to his White House legal team. As for Trump, the President wants the focus to be where it should be, on the case –- which he says is very simple –- as opposed to all the process. Wouldn’t that be refreshing, to look at what actually did or did not take place, in a fair, open and transparent public hearing?