CNN: Aide’s Fifth Amendment declaration sure makes the Hillary server fiasco look criminal, huh?

posted at 12:41 pm on September 4, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

You think? CNN’s Elise Labott noted yesterday that Bryan Pagliano’s decision to plead the Fifth rather than testify before Congress — and even, as it turns out, cooperating with the FBI — makes it appear that the 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign aide that set up her secret server is afraid of criminal charges in the scandal.  Team Hillary says it urged everyone to cooperate with investigators and profess to be mystified as to why anyone would worry about an indictment, but that spin isn’t selling:

Michael Isikoff first reported on Pagliano’s refusal to cooperate with any part of the probe. It also sets up a potential indicator of just how serious this investigation will get. The one way around a Fifth Amendment claim is immunity, which would mean that “extremely serious” FBI investigators will have convinced Department of Justice prosecutors to get “extremely serious,” too:

The former aide to Hillary Clinton who helped set up and maintain her private email server has declined to talk to the FBI and the State Department inspector general’s office, as well as a congressional committee, invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, sources familiar with the investigation confirmed to Yahoo News.

The move by Bryan Pagliano, who served on Clinton’s 2008 campaign and later as a technology officer in the State Department, to decline to cooperate in two federal probes considerably raises the stakes in the Clinton email investigation, the sources said. It confronts the Justice Department with a decision about whether to grant him immunity in exchange for his testimony — a move that could be taken only were the department to escalate the probe into a full-scale criminal investigation, the sources said.

Former federal prosecutor Joseph DiGenova tells McClatchy that this may force the DoJ into empaneling a grand jury, a move with dire political and legal consequences for Hillary Clinton and her aides:

One former Republican U.S. attorney predicted Thursday that the development will compel the Justice Department to set aside the FBI’s limited inquiry into whether Clinton’s emails breached national security, empanel a federal grand jury and conduct a criminal investigation.

“Obviously, if he’s not going to cooperate, all of these people who were on her email are all going to get subpoenas now,” Joseph diGenova said. “It is fairly abundant that the setting up of the server – unencrypted, without State Department input – was done partially surreptitiously. And this gentleman who was part of that process could be criminally exposed for violating the espionage statutes, especially for the grossly negligent handling of classified information, which is a 10-year felony.” …

As U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from 1983 to 1987, diGenova prosecuted Israeli spy [Jonathan] Pollard. He said he still has a security clearance above top secret because he represents clients in national security cases.

“When people like this little guy start taking the fifth,” diGenova said, “it means that a lot of other people along the way are going to do the same thing. This happened because she wanted to have an unencrypted server to protect her privacy, and in the course of doing that, she compromised national security information for four years, whether she wants to admit it or not.”

If Pagliano refused to cooperate after a grant of immunity, he would go to jail for contempt — perhaps as long as the investigation lasts, or in some cases as long as the presiding judge remains on the bench. Will Pagliano want to fall on that sword under these circumstances? Perhaps, but the desire to do so may indicate just how much Pagliano might have to say if he felt like talking. In the meantime, Pagliano can kiss any career in classified areas goodbye, at least for now. A failure to cooperate in a probe of potential nat-sec breaches should end any hope he’d have of getting a clearance in the foreseeable future, if for no other reason than being a bad risk.

It might put a big dent in Hillary’s already-floundering campaign, too. The Wall Street Journal reports that donors have had enough of her strategy on the secret server. The campaign has started reaching out to the big Democratic contributors, but they’re not interested in polishing the spin:

While campaigns routinely keep in touch with donors, the recent outreach by Mrs. Clinton’s camp has intensified as her position slips in the polls. A national averaging on Pollster.com shows her with 47% support compared with primary challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 24%. At the end of May, she had the support of 61% of Democrats to his 13%.

Peter Buttenwieser, a major Democratic fundraiser who is backing Mrs. Clinton, said he participated in a conference call Wednesday with fellow donors from Pennsylvania and a pair of Clinton campaign officials. Mr. Buttenwieser told them he was concerned about polls showing that fewer people trust Mrs. Clinton and advised her camp to confront the email issue more directly. …

Florida attorney John Morgan, who said he raised nearly $1 million during a Clinton fundraiser at his house, said he told campaign officials they should have acted more quickly to quell the email matter.

“There’s two ways to kill a chicken. You can pluck it to death or you can wring its neck. They have plucked this chicken to death,” he said.

Mr. Morgan said he’s received several invitations to visit Brooklyn and participate in conference calls. So far, he’s declined to take part.

The donors aren’t abandoning Hillary yet, either. But if more of her team starts lawyering up and the DoJ starts readying immunity grants and grand juries, they may be prepared to do so.

Update: McClatchy’s report got Jonathan Pollard’s name incorrect; I’ve fixed it in their text.


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Comment pages: 1 2

If Pagliano refused to cooperate after a grant of immunity, he would go to jail for contempt — perhaps as long as the investigation lasts, or in some cases as long as the presiding judge remains on the bench. Will Pagliano want to fall on that sword under these circumstances?”

He’s probably safer in jail than out…how many dead bodies among Clinton associations?

Peter Buttenwieser, a major Democratic fundraiser

Lordy, what a name…

Kevin71 on September 4, 2015 at 3:20 PM

As U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from 1983 to 1987, diGenova prosecuted Israeli spy Daniel Pollard.

Was this supposed to be Jonathon Pollard?

FeedTheHogs on September 4, 2015 at 3:22 PM

Lordy, what a name…

Kevin71 on September 4, 2015 at 3:20 PM

If it were me, I’d legally change my surname to “Button Wiser”.

;-)

Shirotayama on September 4, 2015 at 3:28 PM

That would have worked better if you hadn’t posted 8 minutes after me.

Tlaloc on September 4, 2015 at 3:11 PM

It worked fine….it takes you longer than 8 minutes to
understand anything, much less, formulate a deranged
response to it….

ToddPA on September 4, 2015 at 3:32 PM

As U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from 1983 to 1987, diGenova prosecuted Israeli spy Daniel Pollard.

Was this supposed to be Jonathon Pollard?
FeedTheHogs on September 4, 2015 at 3:22 PM

Ed saw Pollard’s real name in Hillary’s emails.

Marcola on September 4, 2015 at 3:36 PM

Work harder

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2015 at 3:39 PM

It worked fine….it takes you longer than 8 minutes months to
understand anything, much less, formulate a deranged
response to it….

ToddPA on September 4, 2015 at 3:32 PM

Corrected to reflect documented outstanding issues.

The Schaef on September 4, 2015 at 3:44 PM

Florida attorney John Morgan, who said he raised nearly $1 million during a Clinton fundraiser at his house, said he told campaign officials they should have acted more quickly to quell the email matter

It takes more than quick action to quell Stupid.

Herb on September 4, 2015 at 3:50 PM

I’m not a poultry expert, but is it really possible to kill a chicken by plucking it to death?

J.S.K. on September 4, 2015 at 12:48 PM

The “L” should be an “H”.

Naturally Curly on September 4, 2015 at 4:01 PM

Criminal, yes.

jake49 on September 4, 2015 at 4:01 PM

Just put Ms or Mr Clinton and or Obama, and or the Democrats in any Russian joke on CCP USSR back in the day and the glove fits, we must convict.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on September 4, 2015 at 5:02 PM

The left is above the law.

The right, such as the Tea Party, is beneath the law, and does not benefit from its protection.

Legality is for suckers.

David Blue on September 4, 2015 at 5:08 PM

It doesn’t mean anything, CNN is full of right-wing hacks who have been lying about all Democrats for centuries. Centuries, I tell you!

Do I really need the slash?

GrumpyOldFart on September 4, 2015 at 6:20 PM

Poor dude thought he was bullet proof cuz they let him sit at the cool kids lunch table in order to build the illegal server. He now realizes that the sh!t just got real and he is the fall guy.

0331 on September 4, 2015 at 8:23 PM

Hillary server just sounds Gross,you would need a hoist to raise those Cankles,not that I would know.

IXXINY on September 5, 2015 at 1:47 AM

Just imagine what a President Hillary Clinton could do with a HUMAdore cigar and a 21 year old male intern.
This ain’t your Gramas thermometer Jr.!!!

IXXINY on September 5, 2015 at 1:55 AM

Walter L. Newton on September 4, 2015 at 1:43 PM

Absence of intelligence doesn’t prove anything. The left elected Obama twice. So, what’s your point?

Oh, I get your point. If the left can vote in a political nobody that has no grasp of foreign affairs, so can the right.

Sorry I didn’t see that right off the bat. I thought you were smarter then that.

I thought you were smarter then that. Then that????????????

Well you aren’t smarter than that, are you Walty ol’ boy, are ya?

soghornetgunner on September 5, 2015 at 5:41 AM

Tourette Tlaloc will be here shortly to set all you backward
RubesTourette Tlaloc will be here shortly to set all you backward
Rubes
ToddPA on September 4, 2015 at 3:05 PM

Thanks Todd, for giving me my first good laugh of the morning. I laughed so hard I cried. Tourette Tlaloc, priceless!

soghornetgunner on September 5, 2015 at 6:00 AM

Hillary and Bill are about to demonstrate what a political disaster they really are. Also Hillary will NOT go under the “bus” by herself. She will take Barack Obama with her. With Lois Lerner taking the 5th amendment, we now have criminal-activity which is traceable all the way back to the White House. Everyone should pay close attention to Barack Obama’s last twenty-four hours of his Presidency. If Hillary Clinton does not receive a full-pardon, things will very quickly escalate into open political warfare,..and all of the infighting will take place inside the Democrat party.

Bugdust172 on September 8, 2015 at 9:02 AM

Comment pages: 1 2