The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is pursuing charges against Bryan Pagliano, the architect of Hillary Clinton’s email system who ignored subpoenas to testify in front of Congress last year.
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the committee, asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a letter Thursday to convene a grand jury to pursue charges against Pagliano in the matter.
“The authority to compel witnesses is integral to Congress’s and the Committee’s investigative powers,” Chaffetz stated in the referral.
“Allowing Mr. Pagliano’s conduct to go unaddressed would gravely harm Congress’s ability to conduct oversight. This letter details the Committee’s significant efforts to work with Pagliano and his attorneys to avoid the necessity of a criminal referral — including giving Pagliano a second opportunity to show up after first failing to appear.”
Pagliano was subpoenaed by Congress to testify on Sept. 13 and Sept. 22 but failed to up to the hearings. The Oversight Committee then voted to hold Pagliano in contempt of Congress.
Pagliano worked for Clinton at the State Department. There, he set up and maintained her secret email system, on which classified information was stored.
He received limited immunity from the Justice Department in exchange for his cooperation in the email investigation, which explored whether classified information was mishandled but ended with no charges filed against Clinton or anyone else.
Prior to cooperating with federal investigators, Pagliano pleaded the Fifth during an interview with the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
“There is no legal basis for Pagliano’s refusal to appear before the Committee,” reads Chaffetz’s letter.
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, criticized his Republican counterpart for pursing the Pagliano case.
“Apparently, Chairman Chaffetz and President Trump are the only two people in Washington today who think we should still be investigating Secretary Clinton,” Cummings said in a statement.
“The Oversight Committee can’t afford to be distracted by political vendettas against Hillary Clinton while our constituents are begging us to conduct responsible oversight of President Trump.”
The committee has conducted some oversight of the Trump administration, though not as much as Democrats would like.
On Thursday, the committee opened an investigation into whether former national security advisor Michael Flynn was paid by the Russian government for speeches he gave in 2014 and 2015.
The committee is also looking into Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway’s endorsement of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line as well as into whether classified documents about North Korea were improperly discussed at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate over the weekend.
Chaffetz also asked the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate government leaks to the press of information about Flynn’s phone calls with Russia’s ambassador.
Trump asked Flynn to resign on Monday because the retired general misled Vice President Mike Pence about his discussions with the Russian diplomat.