Mulvaney Withdraws Effort to Join Lawsuit, Will Not Testify in Impeachment

November 12, 2019 Updated: November 12, 2019

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney withdrew an effort to join a lawsuit asking a federal judge to decide which authority to follow: Congress or President Donald Trump.

Charles Kupperman, an aide to former National Security Advisor John Bolton who left the White House around the same time Bolton did, filed the suit after being subpoenaed by House Democrats to testify in the impeachment probe, expressing confusion as to whether he should obey Congress or listen to Trump’s White House, which guided him not to comply with the subpoena.

Mulvaney signed onto the suit on Nov. 8 but withdrew the effort to join Kupperman on Nov. 11 and indicated his intention to file a separate lawsuit challenging the subpoena. But on Nov. 12, he said he would not file a separate lawsuit in the matter.

His lawyer said in a court notice that Mulvaney, “after further consideration … does not intend to pursue litigation regarding the deposition subpoena issued to him by the U.S. House of Representatives.”

“Rather, he will rely on the direction of the President, as supported by an opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, in not appearing for the relevant deposition.”

“Mulvaney appreciates the time of the Court in considering his motion to intervene and the opportunity to be heard on that motion,” the notice stated.

The Office of Legal Counsel decision Mulvaney referred to was issued earlier this month and said that House Democrats’ subpoenas are “legally invalid” if lawmakers don’t let witnesses be accompanied by agency lawyers.

“We conclude that the congressional committees participating in the impeachment investigation authorized by the resolution may not validly require executive branch witnesses to appear without the assistance of agency counsel in connection with such depositions,” Steven Engel, assistant attorney general with the office, stated in a letter to the White House.

House Democrats claim Mulvaney has critical information about Trump’s allegedly pressuring Ukraine into probing corruption allegations against former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, as well as Ukraine’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump and his administration have said the aid wasn’t linked to the requests to probe those matters. Trump has said the corruption in Ukraine prompted the review of the aid. A senior official told The Epoch Times in October that the aid was ultimately sent on time.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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