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The House’s investigative committee voted Thursday to hold Hillary Clinton’s chief tech staffer in contempt of Congress after Bryan Pagliano failed, for a second time, to show up and testify about the secret emails of his former boss.
Mrs. Clinton last year urged Mr. Pagliano to cooperate with investigations into her emails, but he has refused to talk to two congressional committees. He did speak to the FBI after being granted immunity.
The 19-15 committee vote Thursday is a recommendation, which now goes to the whole House.
If the contempt charge is approved, it likely would be up to the administration to pursue the case against Mr. Pagliano.
D.C. Legal Ethics Opinion 31 (1977) concluded that it was a violation of the former Code of Professional Responsibility for a congressional staff lawyer to require a witness to appear before a congressional committee when the committee has been informed that the witness will invoke the self-incrimination privilege as to all substantive questions “and the sole effect of the summons will be to pillory the witness.” The committee declines a request to vacate Opinion 31 but notes that under the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct, as under the former Code of Professional Responsibility, a violation occurs only where the summons serves no substantial purpose “other than to embarrass, delay, or burden” the witness.