- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 3, 2015

A former State Department staffer who reportedly helped manage former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private email server has indicated to a House Committee that he plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right and not answer questions in the face of a subpoena.

Bryan Pagliano is a former IT staffer who worked for Mrs. Clinton and helped her manage the private server set up at her home while serving as the nation’s top diplomat, The Washington Post reported.

In a letter to Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican and chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Mr. Pagliano’s lawyer cited ongoing investigations by the FBI and Department of Justice into Mrs. Clinton’s email setup and said Mr. Pagliano must “respectfully” assert his Fifth Amendment right.

Attorney Mark J. MacDougall said in the letter dated Aug. 31 that the subpoena called for Mr. Pagliano to produce documents by Aug. 31 and to appear before the committee on Sept. 10.

“While we understand that Mr. Pagliano’s response to this subpoena may be controversial in the current political environment, we hope that the members of the Select Committee will respect our client’s right to invoke the protections of the Constitution,” Mr. MacDougall wrote. “As the Supreme Court has made clear, ‘One of the Fifth Amendment’s basic functions … is to protect innocent men … who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.’”

He also said Mr. Pagliano would decline to produce documents that might be responsive to the subpoena and asked that the committee excuse him from his Sept. 10 appearance.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat and ranking member on the committee, defended the move.

“Although multiple legal experts agree there is no evidence of criminal activity, it is certainly understandable that this witness’ attorneys advised him to assert his Fifth Amendment rights, especially given the onslaught of wild and unsubstantiated accusations by Republican presidential candidates, members of Congress and others based on false leaks about the investigation,” Mr. Cummings said. “Their insatiable desire to derail Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign at all costs has real consequences for any serious congressional effort.”

The Clinton campaign said Mrs. Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner, encouraged Mr. Pagliano and others to answer questions.

“We have been confident from the beginning that Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email was allowed and that she did not send or receive anything marked classified, facts confirmed by the State Department and the Inspector General,” campaign spokesman Nick Merrill told The Post, which first reported the news.

“She has made every effort to answer questions and be as helpful as possible, and has encouraged her aides, current and former, to do the same, including Bryan Pagliano,” Mr. Merrill said. “In fact, two of those aides are due to testify this week, and she is eager to testify in a public hearing in October.”

Those two aides are Cheryl Mills, Mrs. Clinton’s former chief of staff, and Jake Sullivan, her former deputy chief of staff.

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