The suit was filed by former Bolton deputy Charles Kupperman, asking a federal court to determine whether a congressional subpoena was leading a White House order that did not comply with the inquiry. Bolton agreed to testify if the judge ruled in favor of the Chamber, the Washingon Post reported previously.
People close to Bolton and Kupperman say the two flabbergasted at Mulvaney's surprise request to join the indictment because they and others in the national security team considered Mulvaney a critical players in an effort to get the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations into Trump's political opponents. The security adviser referred to it as a "drug deal," according to congressional testimony to his aides. The two men barely spoke the terms when Bolton resigned from office in September, according to White House officials.
And they believe that Mulvaney's intention was to evade the testimony by joining a suit involving officials whose lawyers argued that it might be limited to what they could share with Congress because of their duty of counsel to the president on national security issues.
Charles Cooper, an attorney for Bolton, declined to comment on Mulvaney's attempt to join the suit, simply saying, "We will give our answer to the court."
Si William Pittard, an attorney for Mulvaney, said the chief of staff is simply looking to solve the competing demands of the two branches of government.
"As acting chief of staff, Mr. Mulvaney wants to obey whatever the president decides and has no reason to think that the law on the issue is unlawful ̵
1; other than the fact that the Chamber has threatened him with charges. insulting and obstructing it, "he said.
Pittard said his client was also facing national security issues coming to Ukraine." Anything Mr. Mulvaney asks will fall to a single foreign relations foreign relations "that will affect Bolton and Kupperman, he said.
Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law expert at Harvard Law School, said Mulvaney's last minute move was it may be an attempt to give himself legal cover to dismiss the House's demand. By accessing himself in the Kupperman case, Mulvaney will avoid having to testify to the court. has been asking the House for months whether the suit has been appealed to the Supreme Court.
"I think he is trying to protect himself from having to comply with his legal duty to comply with a clearly valid subpoena," Tribe said.
Bolton and Mulvaney were key potential witnesses to the House impeachment inquiry, but have so far refused to comply with requests to testify because the White House said senior advisers had "Absolute immunity" from working with congressional investigations.
Trump repeatedly urged the aides not to cooperate and was a key writer of a long White House letter that was devastating the process, officials said.
Mulvaney had previously signed that he would follow the president's direction and would not appear at the hearings, and his top aides had again requested the House for their testimony.
The acting chief of Frida y's legal filing signals a shift in his approach to inquiry. Mulvaney is now trying to join a lawsuit filed by sign officials that they will fight in the White House and testify in Congress if ordered to do so.
Going to court, Mulvaney appears to have acted on his own, hiring a private attorney in mediation. Usually, the White House Counsel's office and the Department of Justice can get involved in legal matters regarding the White House chief of staff.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Pittard said Mulvaney's legal action was necessary to obtain clarity from the courts at a time when he was facing a mandate from the White House not to comply and threatening insults from the House.
"He was actually caught between two conflicting commands." Pittard said. "He intends to obey the orders of his boss, the president, but doing so has led to threats from the House. Asking the court to resolve a true disagreement like this is not justified in the least."
Pittard claims White House Counsel Pat Cipollone consulted before Mulvaney went to court and made no objection. Mulvaney's legal filing, Pittard added, made clear that his The action was aimed at the House, not the president.
"This is inconsistent with the president, and has never indicated any distance between Mr. Mulvaney and the president," said a person close to Mulvaney, who spoke regarding the condition of anonymity to illustrate his thinking.
However, the suit Mulvaney sought to join the list of presidents and House leaders as defendants.  Unusual legal maneuvers lays a deepening of Trump's top advisers as the House impeachment investigator continues to gather evidence about trying to force Ukraine to open investigations into his political opponents. in Ukraine at the request of the president. At a news conference in October, Mulvaney said he withheld the help because of the president's interest in investigating Ukraine in a discriminatory theory that interrupted Ukrainians in the 2016 campaign. Mulvaney later said his comments had been misinterpreted.
If Bolton is ordered to testify, he hopes to corroborate the accounts of former assistants – such as Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman and counsel Fiona Hill – who testified that Bolton was alarmed. military aide was detained from Ukraine as the president and his aides pushed that country to open investigations that could hurt the Democrats.
In a letter to House Democrats on Friday, Cooper wrote that Bolton was "personally involved in many events, meetings, and talks about where you had received the testimony, as well as many related meetings and conversations that have not been discussed in the testimonies until now. ”
Congress investigators have not been arrested in Bolton, though they sought his appearance, a request Cooper said he had denied without a subpoena and a court order.
In his letter Friday, Cooper emphasized Bolton and Kupperman's testimony were particularly important and sensitive because of the role they play in national security issues.
"Information on national security and foreign relations is at the heart of the Committee's impeachment inquiry, and it is difficult to ask any questions that the Committees may refer Dr. Kupperman could not understand these sensitive areas, "he wrote.
He noted that Kupperman and Bolton may receive special immunity from witnessing because they are part of" a very narrow category of aids entrusted to decision-making authority in sensitive areas such as national security or foreign policy. ”
Mulvaney's legal filing may breathe new life into Kupperman's suit after House lawyers revoked their subpoena from him last week and demanded that the case be dismissed. Instead, the Chamber said it would look at another case involving former White House adviser Donald McGahn, who was more advanced, as a primary trial counsel.
However, U.S. leadership. District Judge Richard Leon declined to deny the Kupperman suit. On Saturday afternoon, Leon ordered lawyers for Mulvaney, Kupperman, Bolton and the government to accompany him on a conference call Monday afternoon to discuss Mulvaney's request and how to proceed.