FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, if subpoenaed, will provide testimony regarding the circumstances surrounding his interview with former National Security Advisor Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, sources with knowledge have been telling this reporter for more than a year.
And recent reports scattered across social media and some news outlets claiming that Pientka’s testimony will bring down former FBI Director James Comey, are not true. For nearly a year, I have reported that Pientka, who at the time I addressed as the second agent in the interview with Flynn, would testify if subpoenaed. But so far Pientka, has not been subpoenaed for his testimony. Pientka and embattled FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, interviewed Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017 about his conversation with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, as first reported here.
Pientka, who has never spoken to a journalist, according to several sources with knowledge, is expected to speak to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee if subpoenaed to discuss the circumstances regarding his role in the investigation into Flynn and the interview that he was a part of at the White House. Highly classified information regarding Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak was leaked to columnist David Ignatius of the Washington Post in January, 2017 which spurred the controversy around Flynn and eventually led to his firing in February, 2017.
It’s this reporters understanding that Pientka will account for what Flynn said in the interview and will give context to the FBI’s accusation that he lied during the interview. If asked, Pientka will also give his personal opinion as to whether or not that was actually the case. He will also discuss how forthcoming Flynn was about very specific sensitive information that Flynn could not have possibly known the investigators already knew, which may give additional insight into Flynn’s veracity and willingness to tell the truth.
Pientka, however, will only testify about the circumstances regarding the Flynn interview and the issues that pertain to that interview, according to two sources with knowledge. There is no reason to believe that Pientka has any information on Comey’s role in the Trump Russia investigations but wants the opportunity to “state the truth” about what has been said about Flynn, said a source with direct knowledge.
The issues surrounding the FBI’s agents interview with Flynn took center stage after former Director of the FBI James Comey changed his story several times regarding whether or not the agents believed Flynn had lied to them during the interview. Comey had told lawmakers on several occasions that the agents believed Flynn was telling the truth. Later, Comey changed his story, telling Fox New’s Brett Baier, and others, that he did not recall ever telling congressional members that about the interview, saying, “maybe someone misunderstood” and that he “didn’t say that.”
Strzok, who was with Pientka during the January 2017 interview, was removed from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign after text messages he sent to his paramour, FBI attorney Lisa Page, were were discovered by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Strzok was moved from his role as a top counterterrorism official to the Human Resources division at the FBI.
Former and current law enforcement sources, including others with knowledge of Pietka, stipulated that the rumors and false stories harm the integrity of those being called to testify in ongoing investigations, particularly in this highly politicized climate but they contend Pientka is going to provide only the facts surrounding the case. On Thursday, members from the House Intelligence Committee and House Oversight Committee attended a briefing at Justice Department headquarters with senior officials from the DOJ and FBI Director Christopher Wray in an effort to obtain answers and documents requested by law makers. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates also attended the briefing.
Apparently Pientka isn’t the only FBI agent willing to provide testimony. There are roughly 20 plus former and current FBI personnel who are prepared to be subpoenaed in an effort to unveil the truth about the Bureau’s investigation into both President Donald Trump’s campaign, as well as the bureau’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct government business, according to numerous sources who’ve spoken to this reporter.
Pientka’s name was disclosed in a letter from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, several weeks ago in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a mountain of documents pertaining to Flynn’s case, as previously reported. The Committee also requested that the DOJ make Pientka available for an interview with the Committee after the documents are provided. Grassley’s committee also requested a copy of the intercepted classified phone transcript between Flynn and Kislyak this February but the request was denied by DOJ.
The Committee has requested that Pientka, be made available “for a transcribed interview with Committee staff no later than one week following the production of the requested documents.” The committee also had a “non-partisan law enforcement officer who was present,” during the interview with Flynn, Grassley revealed in the letter.
“The agent was on detail to the Committee staff at the time,” Grassley stated. “According to that agent’s contemporaneous notes, Director Comey specifically told us during that briefing that the FBI agents who interviewed Lt. General Michael Flynn, “saw nothing that led them to believe [he was] lying.”