Two Hillary IT guys plead the fifth, one sings, and one defies Congressional subpoena, deciding not to show for the hearing
The IT crew that managed Hillary’s home-brewed server took the witness stand at a House Oversight Committee hearing Tuesday morning.
The whole ordeal would’ve been hilarious if not for the fact that this is real life and not a sketch from the Saturday Night Live archives.
The fifth amendment circus aside, one of the four tech guys, Bryan Pagliano, the former State Department employee who set up the server, defied Congressional subpoena when he failed to appear for the hearing.
Rep. Trey Gowdy was not exactly thrilled with Pagliano’s no-show:
Gowdy rightly questioned why when Pagliano had been granted immunity by the DOJ, he was in fear of self-incrimination before Congress.
“Congress can’t prosecute anyone, so the one entity that can has granted him [Pagliano] immunity — I’m trying to figure out what his criminal liability is,” said Gowdy. “We can’t prosecute anyone, only the Department of Justice can and they’ve made it, frankly, crystal clear they’re not prosecuting anyone in this fact pattern, so where’s the criminal liability?”
Rep. Lynch, who kept referring to the DOJ as the FBI, suggested Pagliano was simply exercising his fifth amendment rights. “The gentleman from Massachusetts knows the fifth amendment doesn’t protect you from non-incriminating answers,” responded Gowdy.
The Hill has the breakdown of the exchange:
“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!”
As is always the case in Clintonland, the continual stonewalling leads to more questions and more speculation, not less.
Godspeed to the one man, Justin Cooper, aide to former President Bill Clinton who had the gall to answer questions.
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