House leaders threaten contempt if former White House official defies subpoena

House Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE late Saturday threatened contempt proceedings against a former White House deputy national security adviser if he fails to appear for a scheduled deposition Monday.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House spokesperson: Media's 'obsession' with impeachment 'won't let up' Trump rips Chuck Todd for 'softball' Schiff interview Democrats, Republicans tussle over witnesses as vote approaches MORE (D-Calif.), acting Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyHouse Oversight committee asks DHS for information on family separation Overnight Energy: Appeals court tosses kids' climate suit | California sues Trump over fracking | Oversight finds EPA appointees slow-walked ethics obligations Oversight finds EPA political appointees slow-walked ethics obligations MORE (D-N.Y.), and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelUS officials, world leaders arrive in Israel for World Holocaust Forum  House Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a letter that Charles Kupperman’s lawsuit to prevent him from responding to a House subpoena was “without merit.”


“Notwithstanding this attempted obstruction, the duly authorized subpoena remains in full force and Dr. Kupperman remains legally obligated to appear for the deposition on Monday,” their letter states. “The deposition will begin on time and, should your client defy the subpoena, his absence will constitute evidence that may be used against him in a contempt proceeding.”

“Such willful defiance of a duly authorized subpoena may cause the committees to draw an adverse inference against the president,” they added. “The White House’s overbroad assertion of ‘absolute immunity,’ at its core, is another example of the president’s stonewalling of Congress and concerted efforts to obstruct the House’s impeachment inquiry.”

On Friday, Kupperman asked a federal judge to rule on whether he must appear, saying he faced the “irreconcilable demands” of both the House subpoena and the White House’s announcement that it will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.

“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,” his suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia reads.

The White House has invoked constitutional immunity to prevent Kupperman from testifying, going beyond executive privilege and asserting the person in question cannot be compelled to testify before Congress or appear at a hearing.