So, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton had an IT specialist, for whom she arranged special and highly unusual payment arrangements, and who is now on the hot seat legally since Clintons aren’t ever on the hot seat themselves. Bryan Pagliano has pled the 5th for the moment, but Republican senators would like to grant him immunity in exchange for spilling the beans on his old boss.
As Ed Morrissey noted this morning, Pagliano and his lawyers, represented by the Clinton-close firm of Akin Gump, could do a proffer session with senators, which would gauge what Pagliano knows without forcing him to incriminate himself.
Hillary Clinton’s former IT staffer who is asserting his Fifth Amendment right not to answer self-incriminating questions rejected two Senate chairmen’s request for sneak peak at what he’d say if given immunity.
In a Wednesday letter obtained by POLITICO, Bryan Pagliano’s lawyer Mark MacDougall told Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that he would give no such preliminary overview, known in legal terms as a proffer. Both chairmen hoped to get a better sense of what Pagliano knew about Clinton’s homebrew server — which he set up in 2009 before she headed to the State Department.
But MacDougall, an attorney at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, said such an exploratory discussion of what Pagliano knew had no basis in law and could open up his client to accusations that he “waived his right” to avoid self incrimination.
“Members of congressional committees and their lawyers have lately taken an expansive view of what constitutes a waiver by an individual citizen of his or her right under the Fifth Amendment,” he wrote. “Any ‘proffer session’ or other disclosure by Mr. Pagliano — or his lawyers acting on his behalf — of the contents of his possible testimony creates the very practical risk that our client will later be said to have waived his constitutional protections.”
This could be an indication of his unwillingness to spill the beans, an indication that he doesn’t know enough worth spilling to warrant immunity, or couldn’t it be an indication of his familiarity with Clinton tactics? If I were going to blow up Hillary Clinton’s spot, I would not be giving any of that milk away for free. Pagliano needs immunity in hand lest he risk handing himself over to the merciless Clinton machine. I’d be pretty wary of risking giving Congress any reason not to offer immunity if I were him. But as Ed notes, the Akin Gump representation makes one wonder where his interests and loyalties lie.