January 2, 2020

John Bolton 's excuses have run out. He can no longer avoid testifying in impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.

On Monday, December 30, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon dismissed the case brought by Bolton's deputy, Dr. Charles Kupperman, who'd argued that Trump's absurd argument about "absolute immunity" prevented him from obeying the House of Representatives' subpoena to testify. According to NPR:

But the House later withdrew its subpoena, which made the matter moot, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled.

"Kupperman no longer faces the 'irreconcilable commands' of two coordinated branches of government ... and he accordingly lacks any personal stake in the outcome of this dispute," Leon wrote.

In court filings, Kupperman had urged the judge to rule, arguing that the subpoena could be reissued and that he could be punished for failing to comply with that subpoena.

But Leon said the argument lacked merit because the House had "repeatedly and unequivocally" stated that it would not do so.

Oh, dear. No more lawsuit. Poof.

It looks as if Bolton can no longer hide behind the robes of Judge Leon and Bolton's own deputy's lawsuit. That means he must rely on the most recent legal precedent, which just happens to have been written by the bad@ss judge in Don McGahn's lawsuit arguing the same thing that Kupperman's did. Hmmm. What did Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson say in her most recent ruling in that case?

“[I]t is a core tenet of this Nation’s founding that the powers of a monarch must be split between the branches of the government to prevent tyranny,” U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said. “Thus, when presented with a case or controversy, it is the Judiciary’s duty under the Constitution to interpret the law and to declare government overreaches unlawful.”

“Similarly, the House of Representatives has the constitutionally vested responsibility to conduct investigations of suspected abuses of power within the government, and to act to curb those improprieties, if required. Accordingly, DOJ’s conceptual claim to unreviewable absolute testimonial immunity on separation-of-powers grounds — essentially, that the Constitution’s scheme countenances unassailable Executive branch authority — is baseless, and as such, cannot be sustained.”

That is the last legal word of the most advanced court case on the matter. As Jennifer Rubin wrote:

Coupled with the blockbuster New York Times story revealing the behind-the-scenes efforts of senior officials including Bolton to release aid to Ukraine that President Trump illegally withheld to gain leverage and force an announcement from Ukraine of an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden, removal of Bolton’s last excuse (i.e., awaiting a Kupperman ruling) now requires both houses of Congress to proceed to get to the bottom of this. “Bolton has no excuse anymore,” says former prosecutor Mimi Rocah. “The standing case law says testify. Wanting to sell a book says testify. Doing the right thing for the good of your country says testify.”

"Absolute immunity" was never a thing in this country. It is simply a multi-syllabic term for "king." And THAT is not going to fly, here.

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