The Justice Department granted immunity from prosecution to the Platte River Networks technician who permanently deleted backups of Hillary Clinton’s emails, in return for his sworn testimony.
The DOJ previously entered into a similar agreement with Bryan Pagliano, the State Department IT tech who helped Clinton set up the private email server she maintained at her Chappaqua, New York residence.
Clip via Fox News Channel
Despite orders from Congress to the Colorado firm to preserve those records, its technician Paul Combetta used an application called BleachBit to delete Clinton’s emails, The New York Times reported.
As a result of that process, “even God can’t read them,” Rep. Trey Gowdy told Fox News Channel anchor Martha MacCallum on “America’s Newsroom” late last month.
The South Carolina Republican returned to “America’s Newsroom” Friday to discuss the immunity deal with MacCallum.
He explained there are two types of immunity that can be given to a witness who would otherwise assert his Fifth Amendment privilege: Transactional immunity and use immunity.
“If the FBI and the Department of Justice gave this witness transactional immunity, it is tantamount to giving the triggerman immunity in a robbery case,” Gowdy told MaCCallum. “I was stunned when I read the New York Times article.”
Gowdy added that Combetta should have been prosecuted rather than given immunity, because he “destroyed official government records after there was a subpoena and after there was a preservation order.”
MacCallum noted that not only did the technician violate the order, but he also misled the FBI by telling its agents in February “that he didn’t recall deleting anything” and then reversing that statement three months later.
Gowdy agreed. “The devil’s in the chronology,” he said.
“We need to ask the FBI, ‘what kind of immunity did you give, and why did you give it to the triggerman?’”
Meanwhile, FBI Director James Comey said he couldn’t recommend prosecuting Clinton because he couldn’t prove intent.
“Part of the way you prove intent, Martha, or the destruction of evidence, the consciousness of guilt, the multiple false explanations for why you did something — which are legion in this case,” Gowdy said.
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