The failure of a key witness to appear at the House Oversight Committee hearing on Hillary Clinton’s emails, despite a subpoena to do so, set off a fiery exchange between lawmakers.
“Where is the criminal liability?” Rep. Trey Gowdy fired off at Rep. Stephen Lynch Tuesday as they debated the Fifth Amendment immunity that was granted to former State Department IT specialist Brian Pagliano.
One of three technicians who worked on then-Secretary of State Clinton’s email server, Pagliano had spoken to the FBI under immunity during that agency’s investigations. He ignored a subpoena to appear as a witness at the Congressional hearing which prompted the South Carolina Republican Gowdy to question Democrat Congressman Lynch of Massachusetts about the details of the immunity agreement.
“Congress can’t prosecute anyone and the one entity who can has granted him immunity,” Gowdy said.
“What we have done is put him under threat of criminal prosecution,”Lynch said. “It puts him in jeopardy coming before this committee while that criminal referral is in existence. He’s an American citizen. I know the Constitution gets in the way of this committee sometimes.”
Gowdy fired back, angry at the excuses Democrats have been making.
“I want to read the agreement between the Department of Justice and this witness and whether or not that agreement requires this witness to cooperate with other entities of government. That is commonplace! For them to say you can tell us the truth but you can’t tell Congress makes no sense!” Gowdy said. “That’s all I want.”
The House Committee Chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, noted that the immunity agreement and other documents were subpoenaed, as well as Pagliano’s physical presence and were not produced. Chaffetz, who was frustrated by the continual stonewalling of the FBI and issued a subpoena to a top bureau official, had said he would look at penalties against Pagliano.
Two of the other technicians who had worked on Clinton’s email server, Bill Thornton and Paul Combetta, did appear at the hearing, but refused to answer any questions citing their Fifth Amendment rights.
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