WASHINGTON — A Republican-led House committee voted on Thursday to hold in contempt of Congress a former State Department employee who helped set up Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The employee’s lawyer accused the panel of a “naked political agenda.”
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved the contempt resolution on a 19-15 party-line vote. The resolution states that Bryan Pagliano, the computer specialist tasked with establishing Clinton’s server while she was secretary of state, did not comply with two subpoenas ordering him to appear before the panel.
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the panel’s senior Democrat, bemoaned the spectacle, calling it “a blatantly partisan Republican attack on the Democratic candidate for president.”
Cummings and other Democrats also complained that armed U.S. marshals issued a subpoena to Pagliano at his office — an action Cummings said “served no purpose but to harass and intimidate” Pagliano.
But committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah said the contempt resolution was forced by Pagliano’s refusal to comply with subpoenas.
“This committee cannot operate — it cannot perform its duty, nor can any committee of Congress — if its subpoenas are ignored,” Chaffetz said.
Pagliano also refused to answer questions last year before a House panel investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
He later spoke to the FBI under immunity, telling the bureau there were no successful security breaches of the server, located at Clinton’s home in New York City.