WASHINGTON — House Republicans are keeping up their attacks on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails — they called for testimony from the tech expert who set up her private server and representatives from the company that maintained the system.
Bryan Pagliano, a former information resource management adviser at the State Department, was scheduled to appear Tuesday at a hearing before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but he didn’t show up even though he was subpoenaed. His attorneys informed the committee before the hearing that he would continue to assert his Fifth Amendment rights, as he did previously when interviewed by the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Chairman Jason Chaffetz said his failure to appear was “not acceptable” and promised consequences, though declined to say exactly what those consequences would be.
“He made the decision not to be here and there are consequences for that. Okay? This is again, the integrity of the House of Representatives, this is not an optional activity,” he said. “If anybody is under any illusion that I’m going to let go of this and let it sail off into the sunset they are very ill advised.”
Pagliano spoke previously to the FBI under immunity, telling the bureau there were no successful security breaches of the server. But he said he was aware of many failed login attempts that he described as “brute force attacks.”
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.
Two officials from Platte River Networks were called to testify before the committee, too, on Tuesday, but they exercised their Fifth Amendment rights. 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.
Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Massachusetts, argued that Pagliano should not have been expected to show up given that Congress has sent a referral to the FBI seeking additional criminal prosecution of Clinton. Republicans argue that the people involved in setting up and maintaining her server will only speak to the people who have the authority to prosecute them, not Congress.
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. Democrats insist the sole purpose of the hearings is to undermine Clinton’s bid for the presidency.