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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
The Clinton Subpoena DODGE
Two witnesses take the Fifth and one fails even to honor a subpoena.
The Clinton entourage is known for their faulty memories under oath, but Bryan Pagliano is setting a new standard. The former Clinton aide chose Tuesday to ignore a congressional subpoena.
The House Oversight Committee held a hearing to dig into some of the issues surrounding Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Mr. Pagliano, who worked as an IT specialist for Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 campaign and set up the private server in her New York residence in 2009, was issued a subpoena compelling attendance.
Mr. Pagliano’s lawyers replied in a letter to the committee that their client couldn’t be bothered. They said that since he’d previously appeared before a different House committee and asserted his Fifth Amendment rights, any effort to make him appear again “furthers no legislative purpose and is a transparent effort to publicly harass and humiliate our client for unvarnished political purposes.”
Two other witnesses who helped maintain Mrs. Clinton’s server— Paul Combetta and Bill Thornton of Platte River Networks—did show up. But then they took the Fifth as well.
Mr. Pagliano might think his presence serves no purpose, but that’s not his call. Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz is conducting a legitimate inquiry into Mrs. Clinton’s failure to preserve federal records while Secretary of State. He’s entitled to put questions to those involved with the server that allowed her to take government work off-grid. Mr. Chaffetz says he is considering what action he will take against the subpoena-dodger, but he says that “if anybody is under any illusion that I’m going to let go of this and just let it sail off into the sunset, they are very ill-advised.”
By the way, Mr. Pagliano has no legal reason to take the Fifth because he has been granted immunity by the Justice Department as part of the FBI probe into Mrs. Clinton’s mishandling of classified information. He can tell his story without fear of prosecution. A fair conclusion is that his refusal is politically motivated to deny the truth to the public and presumably to protect Mrs. Clinton.
The House could issue a contempt citation, but Mr. Pagliano may figure Justice would refuse to take it up as it did the one against former IRS official Lois Lerner. This is what comes from the Obama Administration’s contempt of Congress, and it’s a dispiriting sign that a Clinton Administration would be no better.