Three witnesses refused to testify Tuesday before a House Committee hearing on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Bryan Pagliano, a former State Department computer specialist, joined Bill Thornton and Paul Combetta of Denver-based Platte River Networks in invoking their fifth amendment right not to testify to avoid self-incrimination.
Pagliano, who set up Clinton’s private email server, opted out of the hearing all together, defying the subpoena. He previously spoke to the FBI under immunity during their now closed investigation and revealed that there had been no successful security breaches despite many failed “brute force attacks.” The conditions of Pagliano’s immunity remain secretive, although the deal is known to have been limited, the Hill reported.
“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, a Utah Republican told The Hill. “When you are served a subpoena by the United States Congress, that is not optional.”
Pagliano’s attorneys criticized the subpoena issued Thursday, which gave him and the Platte employees only two business days to respond and appear before the committee, according to the Washington Post.
Pagliano previously “plead the fifth” during a 2015 House investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Thornton and Combetta, the two Platte River Networks officials called to testify did appear at the hearing, but also refused to answer questions. Thornton has been identified as the aide who deleted Clinton’s archived emails at the request of Clinton aide, Cheryl Mills. The two were ultimately excused from the session, the Associated Press reported.
A fourth witness, former senior advisor to Bill Clinton Justin Cooperv did testify. He was responsible for setting up the email address and domain name for clintonemail.com. He revealed that he had not had security clearance while working under Clinton.
Chaffetz, who chairs the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said there will be consequences for Pagliano’s failure to appear, though did not specify the nature of the penalties.
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