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'No-shows' Cast Shadow on Clinton Emails

09-14-2016
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WASHINGTON -- The witness stand at a House committee hearing investigating Hillary Clinton's emails and private server was especially lonely for the one and only witness willing to answer questions.

Justin Cooper, a former employee of the Clinton Foundation, explained how he purchased, installed, and maintained the first server used by Mrs. Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state.

Two other scheduled witnesses, Bill Thornton and Paul Combetta, invoked their Fifth Amendment right not to testify and were dismissed. Meanwhile a third witness, former senior State Department advisor Bryan Pagliano, refused to attend the hearing.

Cooper acknowledged that he was not a communications security expert. He also admitted that he lacked a government security clearance when he set up the now-disputed server.

As the hearing's sole witness, Republicans repeatedly praised the former Clinton Foundation employee for his cooperation.

"You get huge brownie points from the committee for showing up and having the guts to actually answer questions," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

However, that did nothing to appease Republicans' concern about possible security breaches of the server.

"Here's the problem. It's you, Mr. Cooper," Chaffetz asserted. "With no experience, no dual authentication, no encryption [and] up against the Chinese and the Russians, who do you think's going to win that one? That's what scares the living daylights out of us."

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., described the hearing as an abuse of congressional authority and taxpayer dollars designed to undermine Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, fired back, calling the investigation "entirely appropriate" because "no regular American can get away with the kind of behavior Secretary Clinton gets away with."

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