Earlier this week a federal judge ruled that Don McGahn must testify against Donald Trump to the House impeachment inquiry. This was notable because John Bolton’s lawyer had said through the media that Bolton would make his own decision about testifying based on the McGahn ruling. But after the McGahn ruling came down, Bolton seemed to change his story, as his attorney began asserting that Bolton was waiting for a ruling in the parallel case involving his longtime sidekick Charles Kupperman.
The thing is, Kupperman is suddenly escalating things. He’s moving to add the House Sergeant-at-Arms as a defendant in his court case, according to a court filing flagged by Politico. Our take is that he’s doing this because he believes there’s a greater than zero chance that House Democrats might end up sending the Sergeant-at-Arms to forcibly haul him in under subpoena if he doesn’t show up and testify.
It’s notable that Kupperman is making this move immediately after the McGahn ruling, which suggests that Kupperman has concluded that the judge in his case is also going to rule that impeachment testimony is mandatory. It’s even more notable that Kupperman and John Bolton are using the same attorney for this matter – so it could be interpreted as Bolton being afraid he’ll be forcibly hauled in to testify.
We don’t think the House would sent the Sergeant-at-Arms to arrest a far-right public figure like John Bolton (or for that matter Charles Kupperman) and bring him in to either testify or be locked in the House dungeon. The optics of this would be awful in the eyes of moderates, who might be tempted to conclude that the impeachment process is as overbearing as Donald Trump claims. But maybe they would haul in Don McGahn. We’ll see. It’s interesting that the Democrats are now throwing so many punches, the neocons appear to be afraid of them.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report