Hillary staffer plans to take the Fifth Amendment
Move over, Lois Lerner, you’ve got company on the bench for government officials who refuse to testify under oath because they might incriminate themselves. And the staffer in question, Bryan Pagliano, conveniently ties together the Hillary Clinton email server scandal with the Hillary Clinton Benghazi scandal. Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger write in the Washington Post:
A former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server tried this week to fend off a subpoena to testify before Congress, saying he would assert his constitutional right not to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.
The move by Bryan Pagliano, who had worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009, came in a Monday letter from his lawyer to the House panel investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The letter cited the ongoing FBI inquiry into the security of Clinton’s e-mail system, and it quoted a Supreme Court ruling in which justices described the Fifth Amendment as protecting “innocent men . . . ‘who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.’ ”
There might be a presumption of innocence in a courtroom, but in the court of public opinion, someone taking the Fifth connotes guilt. Pagliano actually faces more opportunities to take the Fifth:
Two other Senate committees have contacted Pagliano in the past week, according to a copy of the letter, which was obtained by The Washington Post. The requests came from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security Committee, according to people familiar with the requests.
The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed Wednesday that it sought to ask Pagliano about his work for Clinton.
Pagliano is clearly part of the Hillary organization. And he continues to draw a paycheck funded by taxpayers:
Pagliano, who worked in the State Department’s information-technology department from May 2009 until February 2013, left the agency when Clinton departed as secretary. He now works for a technology contractor that provides some services to the State Department.
The spectacle of the Fifth being invoked by a person who set up Hillary’s email system is not going to look good.