Presidential races

Ex-Clinton aide expected to plead the Fifth before House panel

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A staffer who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of State is expected to plead the Fifth rather than testify before Congress.

{mosads}Lawyers for Bryan Pagliano indicated the former IT employee will assert his constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer questions from the House Select Committee on Benghazi, citing the “current political environment.”

Pagliano is scheduled to appear before the House Benghazi Committee on Sept. 10. 

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the panel, said in a statement that the panel’s investigation of Clinton’s private email server while at State is politically motivated, given her presidential candidacy.

“Their insatiable desire to derail Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign at all costs has real consequences for any serious congressional effort,” said Cummings, ranking member on the Benghazi Committee.

“Although multiple legal experts agree that there is no evidence of criminal activity, it is certainly understandable that this witness’ attorneys advise 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,” he added.

The committee has scheduled Top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills for deposition on Thursday.

Clinton is under fire for her use of a personal email server during her tenure as secretary of State.

Voter concerns over Clinton’s personal storage device are gradually eroding her support across multiple national polls.

A Clinton spokesman said on Thursday that the former secretary of State is encouraging past aides like Pagliano to testify and thus clear up misconceptions about the server.

“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,” campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.

Pagliano’s attorney, meanwhile, argued on Thursday that his client is invoking his constitutional right so he does not unfairly incriminate himself, given the public scrutiny over Clinton’s email server.

“One of the Fifth basic functions…is to protect innocent men…who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances,” said attorney Mark MacDougall, The Post reported.

–This report was updated at 10:28 a.m.

Tags Hillary Clinton

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