GOP lawmakers with the House Judiciary Committee sent several letters Monday directly to two FBI agents involved in the investigation into former national security advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Ranking Republican Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, along with his colleague Rep. Mike Johnson, R-LA, sent the letters after FBI Director Christopher Wray failed to respond to earlier requests this month.
“Wray needs to wake up and work with Congress. If he doesn’t maybe it’s time for him to go,” Senior Republican Official
The requests are significant and show the growing divide between Congressional Republicans on the committee and Wray, who has failed to respond to numerous requests since the beginning of his tenure at the FBI. Wray has also failed to oblige to Congressional requests to speak with FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, who along with former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, conducted the now infamous White House interview with Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017.
The lawmakers also requested to speak with FBI’s former head of the Counterintelligence Division, Bill Priestap, whose unsealed handwritten notes revealed the possible ‘nefarious’ motivations behind the FBI’s investigation of Flynn. Not only has the House Judiciary Committee requested to speak with the agents but several years ago House Intelligence Committee had also requested to speak with Pientka regarding the circumstances surrounding the probe into the Trump campaign and Flynn.
“Michael Flynn was wronged by the FBI,” said a senior Republican official with direct knowledge of the Flynn investigation. “Sadly Director Wray has shown little interest in getting to the bottom of what actually happened with the Flynn case. Wray’s lackadaisical attitude is an embarrassment to the rank and file agents at the bureau, whose names have been dragged through the mud time and time again throughout the Russia-gate investigation. Wray needs to wake up and work with Congress. If he doesn’t maybe it’s time for him to go.”
This reporter first published earlier this month that Priestap is also allegedly responsible for stopping Pientka from doing an ‘enhanced asset validation review’ of the former British spy, Christopher Steele, whose now debunked dossier launched the investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign.
According to a former FBI official who spoke to this news site the enhanced validation review in the FBI is triggered “if a source is paid more than $100,000 per year for information, or the source’s information is so critical that it can shape national policy or trigger some sort of diplomatic or military action.” Steele’s dossier should have been validated considering the potential to impact our Presidential election, so it
“becomes very questionable as to why Priestap would shut it down,” the former senior FBI official added.
The former senior FBI official also stressed that the decision to interview Flynn at the White House without offering him the opportunity to have counsel ignored normal FBI policy and procedure.
In the letter to Pientka, Jordan and Johnson reiterated that Wray was unresponsive to requests to interview the agents. The lawmakers stressed in their letter that on “May 4, 2020, we wrote to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray to request a transcribed interview with you to understand your actions relating to former National Security Advisor, LTG Michael T. Flynn. Because Director Wray has declined to respond to our request, we are forced to write to you directly. We ask that you respond promptly to schedule this transcribed interview.”
The Congressional lawmakers also referred to the public documents released by the Justice Department, which discussed the interview conducted by Strzok and Pientka at the White House with Flynn in January, 2017, about “LTG Flynn’s December 2016 telephone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.”
The DOJ said it now acknowledges that “Special Agent Strzok and you had no legitimate investigatory basis to interview LTG Flynn at all,” Jordan and Johnson stated.
The recent discovery of the hand written notes and other documents by Missouri U.S. Attorney Jeffery Jensen, who was appointed by Attorney General William Barr to review the Flynn matter, has led the DOJ to ask the court to drop all charges against Flynn.
As for Priestap, whose handwritten notes regarding Flynn’s interview with the FBI agents has raised speculation that the FBI was setting up a perjury trap, the lawmakers sent the letter to his attorney Mitchell S. Ettinger.
“Contemporaneous notes, written by your client, reveal that one of the FBI’s ‘goal[s]’ in interviewing LTG Flynn was to ‘get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired,” Jordan and Johnson. “The FBI discouraged LTG Flynn from having a lawyer present for the interview and also ignored standard procedures for interviewing a White House employee. The Justice Department now acknowledges that the FBI basis to interview LTG Flynn at all.”
However, it isn’t over for Flynn, whose defense attorney Sidney Powell is in the middle of a battle of her own with the Judge Emmet Sullivan, who has not yet agreed with the DOJ’s decision to drop the charges against the three-star general.