President Trump may have received the impeachment acquittal he hoped for, but that doesn't mean he's satisfied. Indeed, Politico reports, he now appears to be testing the limits of executive power through methods like firing White House staffers who testified against him during House proceedings or weighing in on active Justice Department cases over Twitter.
Per Politico, Trump has received little resistance from his attorneys — including White House Counsel Pat Cipollone who led Trump's defense during the Senate trial — or congressional Republicans. That means, in the eyes of some analysts, the presidency may continue to grow more powerful.
"It is beyond anything the presidency has achieved yet and beyond anything Nixon could have imagined," Michael Gerhardt, a professor of jurisprudence at the University of North Carolina School of Law, told Politico, referring to the 36th president of the United States. "There is literally no way to hold the president accountable in Pat Cipollone's worldview."
Cipollone's allies, on the other hand, reportedly believe the arguments Cipollone made during the trial simply sought to maintain and protect Trump's ability to exercise the same amount of executive authority as former President Barack Obama did during his tenure in the Oval Office. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell
Charles Kupperman, a deputy to John Bolton when he was President Trump's national security adviser, filed suit after the House subpoenaed him in October as part of its impeachment investigation, asking a federal court to decide if he should comply with the subpoena or follow the White House directive that he refuse to testify. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon dismissed the lawsuit on Monday, noting that the House had withdrawn its subpoena and said it won't reissue it, and the Justice Department said it wouldn't prosecute him for defying the subpoena in any case. House and Justice Department lawyers had asked Leon to dismiss the lawsuit.
"The House clearly has no intention of pursuing Kupperman, and his claims are thus moot," Leon wrote in his 14-page ruling. Kupperman's continued pursuit of a legal answer to his twin directives was widely seen as a proxy for Bolton, who shares a lawyer with his former deputy. Bolton said he would not testify without a subpoena, and the House did not issue one for him.
Senate Democrats have requested that Bolton testify under oath at Trump's Senate impeachment trial, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has all but ruled out witnesses at the trial. Bolton had used the lawsuit's existence as reason to avoid talking about Trump's Ukraine dealings, though he has hinted he has things to tell. Peter Weber