Absolute Immunity

Kupperman Case

Major Issue:  Whether a former White House official may obtain a declaratory judgment on whether he should comply with a House testimonial subpoena in an impeachment inquiry or a Presidential order prohibiting his testimony because senior-level presidential aides are absolutely immune to Congressional investigative process.

Case Status:  Case dismissed as moot.

Case Description:  On Oct. 25, 2019, Charles Kupperman, former White House deputy national security adviser to President Trump, filed suit in D.C. federal district court to obtain a declaratory judgment from the court as to whether he was lawfully obliged to comply with a House subpoena demanding his testimony in an impeachment inquiry, or was lawfully obliged to “abide by the assertion of immunity from congressional process made by the President in connection with the testimony sought from Plaintiff.”  On Nov. 5, 2019, the House withdrew its subpoena of Dr. Kupperman and, on Nov. 6, 2019, notified the court that the case was moot.  Dr. Kupperman, however, opposed dismissal of the case. 

Procedural Posture:  D.C. District Judge Richard Leon was assigned to Case No. 19-cv-3224.  After the House withdrew its subpoena of Dr. Kupperman, both the House and President Trump filed separate motions to dismiss the case on Nov. 14, 2019.  Dr. Kupperman opposed both motions. 

At some points, it appeared that additional parties might intervene in the Kupperman case.  On Nov. 8, 2019, OMB director and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney filed a motion to intervene and sought a court order to clarify his own legal obligation to comply with a House subpoena in the impeachment inquiry.  But on Nov. 11, 2019, he withdrew his motion and later indicated he had decided against filing suit.  During a status conference held by the district court on Oct. 31, 2019, inquiry was made as to whether former national security adviser John Bolton, represented by the same legal counsel as Dr. Kupperman, might intervene in the suit, but Mr. Bolton has not been served with a House subpoena. 

On Dec. 30, 2019, the district court dismissed the complaint as moot.

On Oct. 25, 2019, Charles Kupperman, former White House deputy national security adviser to President Trump, filed suit in D.C. federal district court to obtain a declaratory judgment from the court as to whether he was lawfully obliged to comply with a House subpoena demanding his testimony in an impeachment inquiry, or was lawfully obliged to “abide by the assertion of immunity from congressional process made by the President in connection with the testimony sought from Plaintiff.”  On Nov. 5, 2019, the House withdrew its subpoena of Dr. Kupperman and, on Nov. 6, 2019, notified the court that the case was moot.  On Nov. 14, 2019, both the House and President Trump moved to dismiss the case.  Dr. Kupperman, however, opposed dismissal.  On Dec. 30, 2019, the district court dismissed the case as moot. Kupperman v. U.S. House of Representatives, No. 1:19-cv-03224-RJL, Memorandum Opinion (D.D.C. Dec. 30, 2019).

No proceedings to date.

No proceedings to date.

Scroll to Top