Bryan Pagliano, a former information resource management adviser at the State Department that was in charge of setting up Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s controversial homebrew email servers, was scheduled to appear today at a hearing before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
However, he decided to skip out on it — and it could mean BIG trouble for him.
Pagliano had spoken previously to the FBI under immunity. However, Pagliano refused to answer questions last year before a House panel investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. His lawyers said at the time that Pagliano did not want to relinquish his rights under the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination.
Tuesday morning Pagliano simply didn’t show up.
“It’s a serious matter. Mr. Pagliano has chosen to evade a subpoena duly issued by the committee. I will consult with counsel and my colleagues to consider a full range of options available to address Mr. Pagliano’s failure to appear,” Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight committee, said.
“He should be here. When you are served a subpoena by the United States Congress, that is not optional,” he said.
Florida Rep. John Mica suggested that contempt of Congress
could be an option for the Committee, according to The Hill.
Contempt of Congress is considered a federal misdemeanor, and is punishable by a maximum $100,000 fine and a maximum one-year sentence in federal prison.
Sure, sure, just when has Congress or anyone else laid a fine and a jail sentence on anyone in this Clinton Fiasco.
Two officials from Platte River Networks also are scheduled to appear before the committee. In June 2013, after Clinton had left office, the server was moved from her Chappaqua, New York, home to a data center in northern New Jersey, where it was maintained by the Denver-based technology company.
Congressional Republicans last month issued subpoenas to Platte River Networks and two other companies – Datto Inc. and SECNAP Network Security Corp. – after they declined to voluntarily answer questions to determine whether Clinton’s private server met government standards for record-keeping and security.
The email issue has shadowed Clinton’s candidacy, and Republicans have been steadfast in focusing on her use of a private server for government business, with several high-profile hearings leading up to the election.
Chaffetz on Monday escalated the GOP’s battle with the FBI over its decision in July not to recommend criminal charges against Clinton for her use of the private email system by serving a top
FBI official with a subpoena for the full case file.
The move by Chaffetz underscores mounting frustration within the GOP over what Republicans see as stonewalling by the FBI over the Clinton probe. Chaffetz and other Republicans on the panel said the bureau has withheld summaries of interviews with witnesses and unnecessarily blacked out material from documents sent last month.
“We decide what’s relevant – not the Department of Justice, not the FBI,” Chaffetz said. “We are entitled to the full file.”
Chaffetz issued the subpoena to Jason Herring, the acting assistant FBI director for congressional affairs. Herring and six other Obama administration officials appeared before the committee to discuss the investigative files. The witnesses on several occasions said they could not answer the questions from lawmakers in an open forum.
The committee later voted to hold the remainder of the hearing in closed session. That session had to be postponed, however, because of a security issue.
FBI Director James Comey last week defended the decision to forgo criminal charges against Clinton after a yearlong probe into whether she mishandled classified information that flowed through the private email system located in her New York home. Comey told bureau employees in an internal memo that it wasn’t a close call.
The FBI provided portions of the Clinton probe file to Congress last month and warned lawmakers that the documents “contain classified and other sensitive material” and are not to be made public. Republicans have said the documents “did not constitute a complete investigative file,” as many of the records had been substantially blacked out or were missing altogether.