Bolton attorney 'dismayed' over lack of subpoena

An attorney for former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonSenate Republicans must stand up for the rule of law and ensure a fair, open proceeding Democrats cap impeachment arguments with focus on Trump stonewalling Lindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden MORE and former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman said Friday he is "dismayed" that his clients will not be compelled to testify in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry after lawmakers refused to issue subpoenas. 

Charles J. Cooper, whose clients declined to testify voluntarily, wrote in a letter to House general counsel Douglas Letter obtained by The Hill that he had hoped to determine in court whether House subpoenas to testify or the White House's assertion of executive privilege took precedence. 

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"We are dismayed that the Committees have chosen not to join us in seeking resolution from the Judicial Branch of this momentous Constitutional question as expeditiously as possible," Cooper wrote. "It is important both to Dr. Kupperman and to Ambassador Bolton to get a definitive judgment from the Judicial Branch determining their Constitutional duty in the face of conflicting demands of the Legislative and Executive Branches."

"Dr. Kupperman stands ready, as does Ambassador Bolton, to testify if the Judiciary resolves the conflict in favor of the Legislative Branch’s position respecting such testimony," he added.

House Democrats had scheduled Bolton to appear on Thursday, but said they wouldn't issue him a subpoena after he declined to appear.

"Mr. Bolton would take us to court if we subpoenaed him," a House Intelligence Committee official said in a statement. 

"We would welcome John Bolton’s deposition and he did not appear as he was requested today," the official said. "We regret Mr. Bolton’s decision not to appear voluntarily, but we have no interest in allowing the Administration to play rope-a-dope with us in the courts for months."

House Democrats also withdrew their subpoena for Kupperman's testimony on Wednesday.

"Given the schedule of our impeachment hearings, a court process that leads to the dismissal of Dr. Kupperman’s flawed lawsuit would only result in delay, so we have withdrawn his subpoena," an Intelligence panel official said. 

Cooper pushed back on this narrative in his Friday letter to Letter. 

"The House Chairs are mistaken to say Dr. Kupperman’s lawsuit is intended 'to delay or otherwise obstruct the Committees’ vital investigatory work,'" he wrote. 

"Nor has the lawsuit been coordinated in any way with the White House, any more than it has been coordinated with the House of Representatives. If the House chooses not to pursue through subpoena the testimony of Dr. Kupperman and Ambassador Bolton, let the record be clear: that is the House’s decision," Cooper added. 

The House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs committees are investigating President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE's dealings with Ukraine. Bolton, who had an ugly exit from the administration in September after multiple rifts with Trump, is seen as a particularly important potential witness in the probe. 

The former adviser is said to have expressed concern about attempts by Trump and his lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiParnas says he has turned over tape of Trump calling for diplomat's firing Pompeo explodes at NPR reporter, asks if she could find Ukraine on a map ABC: Recording apparently captures Trump discussing Yovanovitch ouster with Parnas, Fruman MORE to convince Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenSchiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man' Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE, a former vice president, after the administration placed a hold on hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to the country. 

—Olivia Beavers contributed.