There is a shroud of mystery regarding the actual facts that surround the first interview former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had with two FBI Special Agents at the White House. Pieces of the puzzle, however, have slowly come together over the past year. In the past week, those pieces of evidence, or lack thereof, have become even more pronounced after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office was ordered by Judge Emmet Sullivan to turn over all documentation and FBI interviews – known in the bureau as 302s – to the court.
The highly redacted documents revealed a startling fact, the 302 from the first interview with Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017 appears to be missing. The only document referencing the interview conducted by both Former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his partner at the time FBI Special Agent Joe Pietka III, is an August 2017 document. The 302 from Aug. 22, 2017, is of an interview the bureau had with anti-Trump agent Strzok based on notes he had put into the FBI system on July 19. Those notes apparently were regarding his impressions of his interview with Flynn in January.
Improper doesn’t begin to describe what’s going on with the documents, said multiple former U.S. and senior FBI officials. The main question, they have, like so many others, is what happened to the original notes regarding the FBI’s interview with Flynn?
It isn’t difficult to decipher but there were only two people who would know directly what happened with the Jan. 24 interview: Strzok and Pientka.
So why hasn’t Pientka ever been questioned by Congress or by anyone that we know of, for that matter?
The only person who has credibility and could shed light on this matter is Pientka. He’s the only person the FBI, DOJ and Mueller investigation has purposefully muzzled
On June 6, 2018 Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley sent a three-page letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, questioning the DOJ’s and FBI’s failure to provide information regarding Flynn’s interview with the FBI and any exculpatory information with regard to Flynn’s case that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office may be withholding from Congressional inquiries. Grassley “noted that as both the Committee’s request and the Department’s reply note, any exculpatory evidence must be turned over to the defense. However, the Department’s assurance that, ‘Mr. Flynn is represented by skilled and experienced attorneys who … will have access to favorable evidence in the government’s possession,’ is not relevant to the Committee’s inquiry. Regardless of whether all exculpatory evidence has already been or will be produced to the defense, Congress has a wholly separate, independent, constitutional oversight interest in the information.”
Grassley’s office also requested and was denied numerous times the opportunity to interview Pientka by Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, according to the June 6, letter and interviews with multiple sources.
Grassley wrote in his letter to Rosenstein, “Finally, it is disingenuous and extremely disturbing that the Department would imply that a request to interview a fact witness, such as Special Agent Pientka, has anything whatsoever to do with “allegations against” that witness. As you well know, seeking information from a fact witness is not the same thing as an allegation of wrongdoing. Quite the contrary, it seems he is likely to be an objective, reliable, and trustworthy witness, which is precisely why the Committee would benefit from his testimony.”
FBI spokeswoman Carol Cratty said the bureau would not comment on the situation.
DOJ could not be immediately reached for comment.
According to multiple sources who spoke to SaraACarter.com FBI procedures require that the notes of an interview with witnesses or victims be submitted within 5 days into the bureau’s Sentinel computer system.
“The only person who has credibility and could shed light on this matter is Pientka,” said a former senior U.S. official. “He’s the only person the FBI, DOJ and Mueller investigation has purposefully muzzled.”
As former FBI Supervisory Agent Jeff Danik told this news site, the policy is put in place to ensure that “memory recollection” is accurate so that agents can reference those notes in the future. He said submitting notes more than seven months after an interview is “unheard of” and a “disaster.” He stressed that in order for Sullivan to get an accurate account of what happened he needs to ask the Special Counsel for “the workflow chart, which would show one-hundred percent, when the 302s were created and when they were sent to a supervisor and who approved them.”
Danik makes a crucial and important point, “who was the supervisor who approved the notes going into the system in August 2017 and what happened to the 302 interview in January?”
Strzok was fired by FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich in August, after overruling a recommendation by the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) to suspend and demote the former senior agent.
The FBI told this news site that Strzok’s firing was “subject to the standard FBI review and disciplinary process after conduct highlighted in the IG report was referred to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).”
“OPR reviewed the investigative materials, as well as the written and oral responses of Mr. Strzok and his counsel, and issued OPR’s decision,” an FBI spokesperson said. “The Deputy Director, as the senior career FBI official, has the delegated authority to review and modify any disciplinary findings and/or penalty as deemed necessary in the best interest of the FBI.”
Strzok joined Mueller’s special counsel early June 2017 but was removed in late July 2017 after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz notified the special counsel of Strzok’s anti-Trump messages to his paramour former FBI Attorney Lisa Page. Page, who also served as general counsel to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, was also on Mueller’s team. She left the special counsel’s office on July 15, 2017, and subsequently resigned from the bureau amid the firestorm of controversy. McCabe was fired by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this year after Horowitz discovered that he had lied to investigators and for leaking information to the media.
Last week, the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General released a detailed report regarding the tens of thousands of text messages sent by Strzok to Page. Horowitz noted that they were unable to recover a slew of text messages sent between Strzok and Page sent during the time they were with the special counsel’s investigation, according to the report.
The iPhones issued by Mueller’s office to Strzok and Page were reset after they were removed from the probe in July 2017, according to Horowitz’s report. According to the report, the reset on the phones made it impossible to retrieve the information and texts messages, according to a Daily Signal report.