“FBI Agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka interviewed National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on January 24, 2017. According to documents presented in the court case, agent Peter Strzok did the questioning and agent Joe Pientka took most of the notes.
Following the interview agent Pientka then took his hand-written notes and generated an official FD-302; an FBI report of the interview itself. There has been a great deal of debate over the first draft, the original FD-302 as it was written by Joe Pientka. In the case against Flynn the DOJ prosecutors never presented the original Pientka 302.
On May 2, 2017, the DOJ, using new information gathered by U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen, declassified and released a segment of James Comey testimony that was previously hidden. Within the transcript Comey says Pientka wrote the Flynn 302 on January 24th immediately following the interview. Screengrab below – (pdf here).
That January 24, 2017, version of the 302 is the one that has gone missing.
(Timeline editor’s note: I’m including recently released text messages between Strzok and Page that may have relevance to this time)
People defending the FBI have even said it never existed. However, the testimony of FBI Director James Comey proves the 302 was drafted on January 24th.
Additionally, recent evidence from Brady material turned over to the defense by auditing attorney Jeff Jensen showed FBI lawyer Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok rewriting, editing and shaping the 302 on February 10, 2017, more than two weeks later:
Lisa Page is “pissed off” because Peter Strzok previously edited the 302 and she says he “didn’t even attempt to make this cogent and readable.”
Peter Strzok replies back to Lisa Page that he was “trying to completely re-write the thing so as to save Joe’s voice” because Joe Pientka was the actual author.
Peter Strzok is re-writing the interview notes of Pientka in order to construct the framework to accuse Flynn of lying. Lisa Page is editing the re-write to make it more cogent and readable.
The question has remained: Where is the original 302 report as written by Pientka?
While the question(s) around the missing original 302 have yet to be reconciled, one possible path to discover its location and a copy of its original content lies in the testimony of Sally Yates. Former DAG Sally Yates testified to Congress that after the Flynn interview DOJ-National Security Division:
“The DOJ-National Security Division received a detailed readout from the FBI agents who had interviewed Flynn.” Yates said she felt “it was important to get this information to the White House as quickly as possible.”
Yates is describing the Pientka 302. The Pientka 302 could have been received at the DOJ-NSD later in the evening of January 24th, or perhaps the morning of the 25th. Either is possible because Yates was having meetings about the topic.
The calendar of DOJ-NSD Associate Deputy AG Tashina Gauhar shows meetings with Sally Yates which align with the discussions of the Flynn interview and Yates receiving a summary on the 24th and the detail on the 25th:
In the DOJ motion to dismiss the case against Flynn, the records indicate Yates received a summary of the interview the night of the 24th, and the full detailed record came on the morning of January 25th:
Aligning with what Sally Yates previously described, James Comey admits the FD-302 draft was written on January 24th, exactly as Sally Yates is describing:
Together with DOJ-NSD head Mary McCord, Sally Yates used the 302 from Joe Pientka to travel to the White House on January 26th and brief White House counsel Don McGahn about the Flynn interview contrast against the content of the previously captured call between Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Lt. Gen Mike Flynn.
If the FBI search for the original Pientka 302 is mysteriously impossible, perhaps the DOJ should go and get the version that was received by the DOJ-NSD on the evening of January 24th, or the morning of January 25th, 2017.
Sally Yates had the original Pientka FD-302 report
Yates testimony below:
•Wednesday January 25th, 2017, – The Department of Justice, National Security Division, (at this timeframe Mary McCord was head of the DOJ-NSD) – received a detailed readout from the FBI agents who had interviewed Flynn. Yates said she felt “it was important to get this information to the White House as quickly as possible.”
•Thursday January 26th – (morning) Sally Yates called White House Counsel Don McGahn first thing that morning to tell him she had “a very sensitive matter” that had to be discussed face to face. McGahn agreed to meet with Yates later that afternoon.
•Thursday January 26th – (afternoon) Sally Yates traveled to the White House along with a senior member of the DOJ’s National Security Division, “who was overseeing the matter”, that is Mary McCord. This was Yates’ first meeting with McGahn in his office, which also acts as a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF).
Yates said she began their meeting by laying out the media accounts and media statements made by Vice President Mike Pence and other high-ranking White House officials about General Flynn’s activity “that we knew not to be the truth.”
According to Sally Yates testimony, she and Mary McCord presented all the information to McGahn so the White House could take action that they deemed appropriate. When asked by McGahn if Flynn should be fired, Yates answered, “that really wasn’t our call.”
Yates also said her decision to notify the White House counsel had been discussed “at great length.” According to her testimony: “Certainly leading up to our notification on the 26th, it was a topic of a whole lot of discussion in DOJ and with other members of the intel community.”
•Friday January 27th – (morning) White House Counsel Don McGahn called Yates in the morning and asked if she could come back to his office.
•Friday January 27th – (late afternoon) According to her testimony, Sally Yates returned to the White House late that afternoon. One of McGahn’s topics discussed was whether Flynn could be prosecuted for his conduct.
Specifically, according to Yates, one of the questions *McGahn asked Yates: “Why does it matter to DOJ if one White House official lies to another?” She explained that it “was a whole lot more than that,” and reviewed the same issues outlined the prior day.
McGahn then expressed his concern that taking any action might interfere with the FBI investigation of Flynn, and Yates said it wouldn’t: “It wouldn’t really be fair of us to tell you this and then expect you to sit on your hands,” Yates claims to have told McGahn.
McGahn asked if he could look at the underlying evidence of Flynn’s conduct, and she said they would work with the FBI over the weekend and “get back with him on Monday morning.”
•Friday January 27th, 2017 – (evening) In what appears to be only a few hours later, President Trump is having dinner with FBI Director James Comey where President Trump asked if he was under investigation. Trump was, but to continue the auspices of the ongoing investigation, Comey lied and told him he wasn’t.
Sally Yates received the original Flynn 302 (January 25th) and then went to the White House and informed Don McGahn (January 26th) about the nature of the interview.
The Flynn 302 was edited by Page and Strzok on February 10th. The 302 was changed and altered to match the FBI claims of a discrepancy. Flynn was fired on Feb 13th. The Flynn 302 was debated again on Feb 14th and entered into the record on February 15th.
Sally Yates was fired, and later testified to congress on May 8, 2017. She modified her testimony to avoid an admission that she held the original 302; likely because she knew the 302 was rewritten in February.