Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions today asking Sessions to consider convening a grand jury or bringing charges against Hillary Clinton’s former IT guy, Bryan Pagliano. Pagliano was subpoenaed to testify before the committee last year but refused to appear on two occasions. After the second refusal, the Oversight Committee voted to hold Pagliano in contempt.
Chaffetz’ letter to AG Sessions reads in part, “Because Pagliano’s job functions included supporting mobile computing issues across the Department, he was uniquely positioned to answer questions regarding State Department policies and practices for preserving records, as well as the technological procedures utilized to do so.” The letter concludes, “In light of Pagliano’s contumacious conduct in refusing to testify, the Department should bring the matter before a grand jury for its action or file an information charging Pagliano with violating 2 U.S.C. § 192.”
In a statement released by the committee, Chaffetz says, “The authority to compel witnesses is integral to Congress’s and the Committee’s investigative powers. Allowing Mr. Pagliano’s conduct to go unaddressed would gravely harm Congress’s ability to conduct oversight.”
Pagliano was the person responsible for managing Hillary Clinton’s private email server. He worked for Clinton at the State Department while she was Secretary of State but also maintained her homebrew server in his off hours.
Pagliano was subpoenaed to appear before the House Oversight Committee twice last September. Mark MacDougall, Pagliano’s attorney, argued his client should not have to appear since he would only be invoking his 5th Amendment right not to testify. Chaffetz insisted he would need to do so in person.
On September 22, 2016, after his second refusal to appear, the Oversight Committee voted to hold Pagliano in contempt. In a report by Politico published the day of the contempt vote, MacDougall said, “Bryan already asserted his Fifth Amendment right on the record before this Congress. He was ready to do it again today in Executive Session. But the Republicans voted for contempt because he wouldn’t play the role they had scripted – in the campaign ad that they wanted to tape six weeks before the election.”
Pagliano did appear and give testimony in a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch last year. During the deposition he invoking the 5th Amendment around 125 times. No video of the deposition was released but journalist Phelim McAleer made a short film based on the verbatim transcript. Watching this you can see why Pagliano did not want to appear before Congress in public.