(CNN) – Clintons paid State staffer to set up private email server

(CNN)Hillary and Bill Clinton personally paid the State Department staffer who set up their private email server, two Clinton campaign aides said Saturday.

Bryan Pagliano was retained separately from his job at State to install the server, the aides said. The arrangement insured that no taxpayer money was spent on setting up the server that was used by the Clinton family and some of their closest advisers, the aide said.

The Washington Post first reported the arrangement Friday night.

A message left with Pagliano’s lawyer Saturday morning was not immediately returned.

Pagliano, an IT specialist, informed Congress through his lawyer earlier this week thathe will invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before the House Select Committee on Benghazi and other Congressional inquiries into the server.

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Clinton’s aides had earlier sought to minimize any damage from his refusal, saying they’d encouraged Pagliano to testify because he has nothing to hide.

“We had hoped Bryan would also agree to answer any questions from the committee, and had recently encouraged him to grant the committee’s request for an interview,” a Clinton aide told CNN on Thursday.

“Bryan is an utter professional and a wonderful young man who does not live in the public eye and understandably may not wish to be drawn into a political spectacle,” the aide said. “So his decision is both understandable and yet also disappointing to us, because we believe he has every reason to be transparent about his IT assistance.”

Pagliano’s decision to plead the Fifth could create a fresh opening for Clinton’s opponents in the 2016 presidential race to attack her, this time citing a former staffer’s actions rather than leveling their own charges, like Donald Trump’s suggestion that the controversy surrounding Clinton’s emails could force the end of her campaign.

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