Earlier today, John Bolton let it be known through his associates that he was planning to use the Don McGahn court case as a guidepost for whether he should show up and testify to the House impeachment inquiry. We flagged this as odd, considering Bolton’s longtime sidekick Charles Kupperman is also in the midst of a separate court case over his testimony. Why wouldn’t Bolton be using the Kupperman case as a guidepost?
Now we have our answer. The House impeachment inquiry is announcing that it’s withdrawing its Charles Kupperman subpoena, because it’s not interested in waiting for Kupperman’s testimony until the court case finishes playing out. Considering that the Kupperman ruling could arrive within weeks, we find this fascinating. It means impeachment really is moving just that fast. We’re also taking it as a sign that Kupperman’s testimony isn’t all that important.
Kupperman likely can’t tell the public anything about Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal that it isn’t already going to hear from other former Bolton underlings like Fiona Hill and Colonel Vindman, who have already testified privately, and who are certain to testify in front of the television cameras once public hearings get underway next week. Kupperman also lacks the starpower of someone like Bolton, meaning he’s not going to change any minds that aren’t already going to be changed by Hill and Vindman.
However, we think this still leaves the door open for John Bolton to testify. He’s making a point of letting it be known that he’s looking to the McGahn case for guidance. Notably, the House impeachment inquiry is still pursuing the McGahn case, because it wants McGahn as a witness. If and when the McGahn ruling comes down in favor of the House, we expect Bolton will indeed testify. That’ll make Kupperman even more expendable of a witness.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report