House leaders threaten contempt if former White House official defies subpoena

House Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech 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 SchiffHillicon Valley: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security | Biden says China must play by 'international norms' | House Democrats use Markup app for leadership contest voting Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE (D-Calif.), acting Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHillicon Valley: Government used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 | Defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal, includes White House cyber czar position | Officials warn hackers are targeting vaccine supply chain Defense policy bill would create new cyber czar position Sweeping financial crimes bill to hitch a ride on defense measure MORE (D-N.Y.), and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelRep. David Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel Democrats elect Meeks as first Black Foreign Affairs chairman The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates 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.