by John Sexton
February 16, 2017
via Judicial Watch
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.”
…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.
When Jeff Sessions was being confirmed, one of the questions asked him was about the Clintons. His response emphatically was to say he would recuse himself in this case. Now my question is now that the letter has been submitted, where will Jeff Sessions go from here? Will he have staff he can trust who would strongly follow-up on this particular individual or will Jeff’s recusement against the Clintons not affect a case against Pagliano?
This will be interesting to follow and see where Jeff Sessions plans to go with his agency and its purpose. Will this new group of DoJ members actually perform their duties according to the written constitution and rule of law? Will the DoJ find the teeth necessary to bring to trial cases where there is a clear breach of national security protocol? Will they continue to work for the citizens to bring to justice those who would do our country harm regardless of wealth, influential standing, ideological, or political affiliations?