Almost two months ago, I wrote the story FBI Criminal Investigation Closes In On Hillary Clinton, in which Bryan Pagliano, the former State Department IT expert was granted immunity by the FBI. Pagliano was to spill the beans about his work setting up presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server at her home. At the time, she was Secretary of State, a government employee. The personal server would allow her to mix her personal and government email, some of which would be extremely sensitive, even up to top secret.
Hillary’s private emails could also include messages relating to the Clinton Foundation, which accepts donation large and small, including from foreign governments and people who have not yet been determined.
If not for reasons of secrecy and privacy, why would she go to all the trouble of hiring the IT expert and setting up that server and mixing both official and private emails?
As Secretary of the Department of State, she must have known the laws relating to government communications. We know there is an ongoing FBI criminal investigation into her use of the server. It is possible she committed felony offenses for discarding 30,000 emails from that server, which she judged to be personal. It took her some time to finally deliver her server to the Department of Justice.
She is apparently naively ignorant of the law and the charges against her. She has laughed off the interest in her emails more than once, and her attitude to the scandal is definitely not serious. It might be suspected that her former White House hatchet man, and now spin doctor, John Podesta, advised her to intimidate the FBI using her self-importance.
Now we hear that Bryan Pagliano, the IT expert who was granted immunity from prosecution, refused to answer Judicial Watch questions relating to their civil case. The deposition was scheduled for Monday. Pagliano’s action means that her private email server is still shrouded in mystery.
Does this mean that Judicial Watch might ask more probing questions than the FBI?
Not Good For Candidate Hillary Clinton
Candidate Hillary must know this is not a favorable event for the investigation. It could easily mean that she will be forced to testify in the case herself. That is never a good thing for the subject of a criminal investigation.That said, we know she is used to fronting up for a grilling. Remember her response: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Pagliano’s refusal to answer questions is likely to be construed only one way – that he or the State Department did something wrong and have something to hide. There is also likely to be speculation about whether he has been paid off.
Lawyers and judges will likely view Pagliano’s decision to change his mind and plead the Fifth as suspicious.
Peter Toren, a former federal prosecutor and partner at Weisbrod Matteis & Copley, said “Staying silent can be used against you. It’s extremely tedious, but the fact that [a witness] took the Fifth is an inference that what I’m asking is true.”
Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton, interviewed by The Hill, said “In certain circumstances, the witness taking the Fifth Amendment, you can draw some negative conclusions based on that about the State Department’s conduct, and the agency’s head, the State Department’s head, which is Mrs. Clinton.”
Inspector General’s Report
The Inspector General’s report points out that the State Department had communication problems before Hillary Clinton became Secretary. It also notes that her failures were more serious. She did not comply with federal policies on records.
Presumptive Democratic Party nominee presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will get no relief from this political headache. It has dogged her campaign for more than a year, even though she shrugs it off, and it will continue to do so.