2 Clinton IT Aides Plead The Fifth, Another Skips Hearing
Why are these Clinton IT aides pleaded the 5th or not even showing up? What are they trying to hide? Why are they trying to protect Clinton?
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Three IT specialists involved with Hillary Clinton’s private email server on Tuesday refused to testify before the House Oversight Committee on deletions of some of Clinton’s emails.
One of these three, Bryan Pagliano — the former State Department employee who set up the server — defied a subpoena and failed to appear at the hearing altogether.
The other two, engineers at the outside firm that managed Clinton’s server, appeared under subpoena but invoked their Fifth Amendment rights in response to every question.
Outraged Republicans quickly threatened reprisal against Pagliano, who has long been a flashpoint in various investigations into the server.
The former State technician famously exercised his right not to testify against himself before the House Select Committee on Benghazi in 2015. He was also reportedly awarded an immunity deal during the FBI’s now-closed investigation into Clinton’s use of the server while secretary of State.
“I will consult with counsel and my colleagues to consider a full range of options available to address Mr. Pagliano’s failure to appear,” Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said. “When you are served a subpoena by the United States Congress, that is not optional.”
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) suggested that the committee could declare Pagliano in contempt of Congress.
Democrats pushed back fiercely, arguing that the committee is unfairly asking Pagliano to open himself up to criminal liability, pointing to an outstanding criminal referral from Chaffetz that asked the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to investigate deletions from the server.
“What we have done is put him under threat of criminal prosecution,” argued Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.). “It puts him in jeopardy coming before this committee while that criminal referral is in existence. He’s an American citizen; I know the Constitution gets in the way of this committee sometimes.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) fired back, citing the immunity deal. Lynch replied that the immunity deal was “limited,” according to Pagliano’s counsel.
“I want to read the agreement between the Department of Justice and this witness and whether that agreement requires this witness to cooperate with other entities of government — that is commonplace!” Gowdy shouted. “For them to say you can tell us the truth and not tell Congress makes no sense!”
Lawmakers had no more luck with Bill Thornton and Paul Combetta, the two specialists from the Colorado-based Platte River Networks.
Chaffetz pressed Combetta on the security of the server and deletions of certain emails from it but ultimately excused him “out of respect for your constitutional rights.”
“You’re an IT guy who’s paid by the Clintons. Who told you to delete the emails?” Chaffetz asked. More