SALT LAKE CITY - It was an unusual camera shot…a microphone on a table pointed at no one, presumably an empty chair behind it.
“I do note the absence of Mr. Pagliano,” said Utah congressman and Chair of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz.
To Chaffetz it showed contempt of a congressional subpoena issued to the man who set up Hillary Clinton’s personal email server, which she used as Secretary of State and has since become a focal point of a national conversation about her judgment and concern for security.
To Democrats, it showed a well-planned spectacle meant to embarrass Hillary Clinton, rehashing allegations already investigated by the FBI.
The chief critic of Chaffetz’ hearing was Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee.
“This is the first time in my 20 years in Congress that I've personally witnessed the oversight power of this committee abused in such a transparently political manner to directly influence a presidential campaign,” Cummings said.
Chaffetz said he’s deadly serious about the security questions he’s asking, and about the subpoena ignored by Pagliano.
“The integrity of the House of Representatives, this is not an optional activity. You don't just get to say, ‘Hey, I decided not to do that,’ so we'll look at the full range of options,” Chaffetz said.