Joe Pientka

June 24, 2019 – DOJ confirms Flynn defense team never received a transcript of Flynn/Kislyak phone call

“When General Michael Flynn entered into the seemingly coerced plea agreement with the special counsel team and prosecutor Brandon Van Grack (November 30, 2017), he gave up the right to defense discovery in his case.  In hindsight this will likely be viewed a mistake.

Lt. General Michael Flynn and his new attorney, Sidney Powell. (Credit: Megan Meneiro/Courthouse News)

(h/t Techno Fog) During a court appearance today by new attorney Ms. Sidney Powell, the topic of needing a classified security clearance -to review documents- was raised.  The DOJ responded to the assertion by saying no classified information was provided to the prior Flynn defense team, therefore Ms. Powell doesn’t need not carry that concern.

However, by admitting the DOJ provided no classified information to the defense, the prosecution is simultaneously admitting they never provided Flynn with a copy of the phone call transcript (December 29, 2016) between President-elect Trump’s incoming National Security Advisor and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.  The content of that phone call lies at the heart of the FBI interview that took place on January 24th, 2017.

Judge Emmet Sullivan originally asked for the Flynn/Kislyak transcript; however, the prosecution said it was irrelevant to their case.  The judge accepted the non-production.

It is suspected Flynn may have been under a FISA surveillance warrant which seems confirmed by the Weissmann/Mueller report. The FBI intercepted, recorded, and later transcribed the December 29, 2016, conversation.

This is why the issue of how the FBI agents write the 302 summary of the Flynn January 24, 2017, interview becomes such an important facet.

On June 6, 2019, the DOJ released the FBI agent report (FD-302) written after their interview of Michael Flynn on Jan 24th, 2017. (Full pdf below) From prior testimony we know that FBI Agent Peter Strzok did the questioning and FBI Agent Joe Pientka took notes.

Lt. General Michael Flynn (Credit: public domain)

For some reason, within the DOJ release of the report they are continuing to redact the name Joe Pientka. [Could be due to ongoing employment]

It’s worth noting according to Mark Meadows the Office of Inspector General Michael Horowitz has interviewed Joe Pientka extensively; prior attempts by congress to gain testimony from Pientka were blocked by the FBI and Rod Rosenstein.

FBI Agent Joseph Pientka was never interviewed by the joint House judiciary and oversight committees (Goodlatte and Gowdy). The reason, as explained by Meadows, was simple; Pientka was on Weissmann and Mueller’s special counsel team. Congress was not allowed to interfere in the Mueller probe. In hindsight this looks like Weissmann, Mueller & Rosenstein strategically using the investigation as a shield from sunlight.

The interview took place on January 24, 2017. The report was written Jan 24th, 2017. The wording was then deliberated by the small group, approved by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and entered into the record on February 15th, 2017. (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 6/24/2019)

December 12, 2018 – FBI violated policy in Flynn’s Case, judge demands all exculpatory evidence

(Judge Rudolph Contreras suddenly recuses himself from the Flynn case on December 7, 2017. (Credit: public domain)

“A federal judge overseeing the case of Former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is demanding to see the FBI’s first interviews with the retired three-star general after explosive information contained in a sentencing memo released Tuesday night revealed that senior FBI leadership suggested he not have a lawyer present, nor warn him that his interview was subject to penalties if he failed to provide all the answers, according to the 178 page Defendants memorandum submitted to the court.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office Wednesday night to turn over all the government’s documents by mid-day Friday. The exculpatory documents requested by Sullivan include any memorandums regarding Flynn’s case because of the extraordinary circumstances of the information, according to Sullivan’s request. Further, Sullivan is also requesting any documentation regarding the first interviews conducted by former anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok and FBI Agent Joe Pientka -known by the FBI as 302s- which were found to be dated more than seven months after the interviews were conducted on Jan. 24, 2017, a violation of FBI policy, say current and former FBI officials familiar with the process. According to information contained in Flynn’s memorandum, the interviews were dated Aug. 22, 2017.

FBI Supervisory Agent Jeff Danik told SaraACarter.com Sullivan must also request all the communications between the two agents, as well as their supervisors around the August 2017 time-frame in order to get a complete and accurate picture of what transpired. Danik, who is an expert in FBI policy, says it is imperative that Sullivan also request “the workflow chart, which would show one-hundred percent, when the 302s were created when they were sent to a supervisor and who approved them.”

“The bureau policy – the absolute FBI policy – is that the notes must be placed in the system in a 1-A file within five days of the interview,” said Danik, who added that handwritten notes get placed into the FBI Sentinel System, which is the FBI’s main record keeping system. “Anything beyond five business days is a problem, eight months is a disaster.”

“In a case of this magnitude there is no question what is going on,” said Danik. “These agents went in the White House and had a case with a possible witness of his stature and didn’t write it up until almost eight months later? That is is unconscionable – it’s not fair to the defendant and absolutely goes against FBI policy.” (Read more: Sara Carter, 12/13 2018)

August 29, 2018 – Bruce Ohr names Andrew McCabe, FBI officials tied to Peter Strzok among his Trump dossier contacts: Reports

Rep. John Ratcliffe speaks about Bruce Ohr’s testimony to Congress with Sean Hannity. (Credit: Fox News)

“Sources told Fox News that Ohr’s contacts included Peter Strzok, the former FBI agent who acknowledged meeting with Ohr in congressional testimony last month. Strzok once played a leading role in Mueller’s inquiry and was recently fired from the bureau over anti-Trump text messages he sent a colleague with whom he was having an affair.

Fox News also reported that Ohr claimed to have met with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, Strzok’s onetime mistress, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and Joe Pientka, an FBI agent who reportedly interviewed former national security adviser Michael Flynn with Strzok.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., noted that Ohr additionally mentioned Andrew Weissmann, who was the chief of the DOJ’s criminal fraud division, according to the Washington Post. Fox News‘ Catherine Herridge reported Thursday that Weissmann was “kept in the loop” about the dossier, Steele, and Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commission the dossier.

During his testimony in a closed-door testimony before the joint task force of the Judiciary and Oversight committees, Ratcliffe claims Ohr said at least one of these officials signed off on a FISA warrant application seeking the authority to spy on Page. To this individual, Ratcliffe advised: “I would retain a really good lawyer.”

Of the officials who have been identified in reports, McCabe was the only one known to have signed off one of them.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 8/30/2018)

June 7, 2017 – The day before Comey testifies to congress, the FBI visits his home and collects four memos “as evidence”

A recent FOIA release from Judicial Watch (full pdf below) reveals that two of Mueller’s initial FBI agents, based on dates and redactions – likely Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, visited James Comey on June 7th, 2017, to retrieve a collection of his memos.

(However, a word of caution, one of the memos was titled “last night at 6:30pm” and is being widely misinterpreted to have been written the night before (June 6th, 2017) when that is not accurate.  It is likely that memo relates to the January dinner in the White House with President Trump that held the same sentence.)

If we ignore the misinterpreted “last night” memo aspect (dinner with potus in January ’17), here’s what we can learn from this FOIA release:

♦First, the memos were picked up while FBI agent’s Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka were lead FBI agents that transferred into the Mueller team.  Therefore it’s likely they were the two who traveled to Comey’s house for this effort.

♦Second, the memos were picked up June 7th, 2017, the day before James Comey appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, June 8th, 2017 [See Link].

It was during this June 8th SSCI committee testimony where Comey first revealed the scope of his memo keeping.  Keep in mind, all prior research shows SSCI Chairman Richard Burr and SSCI Vice-Chair Mark Warner were part of the corrupt effort against President Trump.  Their committee was where leaker James Wolfe (sleeping with journalist Ali Watkins) was operational.  The SSCI was part of the aggregate coup effort.

WARNER: I think that’s a very important statement you just made. Then, unlike your dealings with presidents of either parties in your past experience, in every subsequent meeting or conversation with this president, you created a written record. Did you feel that you needed to create this written record of these memos, because they might need to be relied on at some future date?

COMEY: Sure. I created records after conversations that I think I did it after each of our nine conversations. If I didn’t, I did it for nearly all of them especially the ones that were substantive. I knew there might come a day when I would need a record of what had happened, not just to defend myself, but to defend the FBI and our integrity as an institution and the Independence of our investigative function. That’s what made this so difficult is it was a combination of circumstances, subject matter and the particular person.

WARNER: I think that is very significant. I think others will probably question that. Now, the chairman and I have requested those memos. It is our hope that the FBI will get this committee access to those memos so again, we can read that contemporaneous rendition so that we’ve got your side of the story. – Transcript Link

(Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Understanding the timeline; and overlaying the ideological intents and purposes; it would make sense that Robert Mueller and the ‘small group’ would want to exploit the memo content (hell, they likely knew all about it as soon as written), and simultaneously keep those memos buried and under their ‘small group’ control.

By taking custody of the memos, the Mueller investigative team would be able to block any outside inquiry.  That’s the motive for the FBI visit to James Comey on June 7th, 2017.  Comey could then talk about the memos the next day while knowing the ‘small group’ would use the “ongoing investigation” to keep them hidden from review.

Senators Mark Warner, Richard Burr and the media would be able to frame discussion of the memos to undermine President Trump, while knowing the memos would be kept out of public review.  With hindsight go back and review the SSCI testimony; this approach appears to have been pre-planned.

Now lets overlay the Archey Declarations” against the FOIA release.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 7/31/2019)

January 24, 2017 – FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Peter Strzok,  one of two FBI agents to interview Lt. General Michael Flynn. (Credit: Getty Images)

“Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ write-up of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302. (Read more: The Washington Examiner, 12/11/2018)

January, 2017 – The DOJ/FBI intelligence operation against Lt. General Michael Flynn

(…) “On January 3rd, 2017, the new congressional year began.  SSCI Vice-Chair Dianne Feinstein abdicated her position within the Gang-of-Eight, and turned over the reigns to Senator Mark Warner.  Warner was now the vice-chair of the SSCI and a Go8 member.

On January 6th, 2017, the Obama White House published the Intelligence Community Assessment, and declared:

We assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.  (pdf link)

It is not coincidental the ICA was “high confidence” by Brennan and Clapper; and less confidence by Mike Rogers (NSA).

With the Flynn Dec. 29, 2016, transcript in hand, the DOJ and FBI began aiding the Logan Act narrative with Obama intelligence officials supporting the Russia Conspiracy claims and decrying anyone who would interfere or counter the official U.S. position.

On January 14th, 2017, the content of the communication between Flynn and Kislyak was leaked to the Washington Post by an unknown entity. Likely the leak came from the FBI’s counterintelligence operation; the same unit previously carrying out the 2016 campaign spying operations. [Andrew McCabe is highly suspected]

The FBI CoIntel group (Strzok, McCabe etc.), and the DOJ-NSD group (Yates, McCord etc.) were the largest stakeholders in the execution of the insurance policy phase because they were the epicenter of spygate, fraudulent FISA presentations and the formation of the Steele Dossier.

The media leak of the Flynn conversation with Kislyak was critical because the DOJ/FBI were pushing a political narrative. This was not about legality per se’, this effort was about establishing the framework for a preexisting investigation, based on a false premise, that would protect the DOJ and FBI.  The investigation they needed to continue evolved into the Mueller special counsel.  This was all insurance.

The Flynn-Kislyak leak led to Vice-President Mike Pence being hammered on January 15th, 2017, during a CBS Face the Nation interview about Trump campaign officials in contact with Russians.  Pence was exceptionally unprepared to answer the questions and allowed the media to blend questions about campaign contacts with necessary, and entirely appropriate, transition team contacts.

Sunday January 15th, 2017 – VP-elect Mike Pence appears on Face The Nation. [Transcript Here]

Mike Pence appears on CBS Face the Nation. (Credit: CBS)

JOHN DICKERSON: But there’s a distinction between that feeling about the press and legitimate inquiry, as you say, that the Senate Intelligence Committee is doing.

Just to button up one question, did any advisor or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?

MIKE PENCE: Of course not. And I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy. (link)

*NOTE* The incoming administration was under a false-narrative siege created by the media.  At the time (early Jan, 2017) ‘any contact’ with Russians was evidence of meddling/election-collusion with Russians.  VP-elect Mike Pence poorly answered the question from Dickerson from a very defensive position.

The toxic media environment and Mike Pence speaking poorly during a Face The Nation interview now became a much bigger issue.

Once Vice-President Mike Pence made the statement that Flynn had no contact with anyone from Russia etc. any contradictory statement from Flynn would make Pence appear compromised.  Michael Flynn is now contrast against Pence’s false point without clarification.  As National Security Advisor Flynn was interviewed by the FBI on January 24th, nine days after Pence made his comments.

During this ambush interview, disguised as a meeting, FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Agent Joe Pientka were contrasting Vice-President-elect Pence’s statements to CBS against the known action of Mike Flynn.  [Flynn has three options: either (1) Flynn contradicts Pence, or (2) he tells a lie; or (3) Flynn explains Pence misspoke, those were his options.]

How Flynn responded to the line of inquiry, and explained/reconciled the difference between Pence’s statement on Jan 15th and what actually took place on December 29th, 2016, is why the FBI ended up with the initial conclusion that Flynn wasn’t lying.

It is within this dynamic where the FD-302 reports, written by Strzok and Pientka, then became the subject of political manipulation by Asst. FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

The FBI knew the content of the Flynn call with Sergey Kislyak because they were listening in.  The FBI were intercepting those communications.  So when Pence said no-one had any contact on January 15th, the FBI crew IMMEDIATELY knew they had an issue to exploit.

We see the evidence of the FBI knowing they had an issue to exploit, and being very nervous about doing it, in the text messages between Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok who would end up doing the questioning of Flynn.

The day before the Flynn interview:

January 23, 2017, the day before the Flynn interview, Lisa Page says: “I can feel my heart beating harder, I’m so stressed about all the ways THIS has the potential to go fully off the rails.” Weird!

♦Strzok replies: “I know. I just talked with John, we’re getting together as soon as I get in to finish that write up for Andy (MCCABE) this morning.” Strzok agrees with Page about being stressed that “THIS” could go off the rails… (Strzok’s meeting w Flynn the next day)

[We’re not sure who “John” is, but we know “Bill” is Bill Priestap, FBI Deputy Director in charge of Counterintelligence. And “Jen” is Jennifer Boone, FBI counterproliferation division]

So it’s the day before they interview Flynn.  Why would Page & Strzok be stressed about “THIS” potentially going off the rails?  The answer is simple: they knew the content of the phone call between Mike Flynn and Sergey Kislyak because they were listening in, and they were about to exploit the Pence statement to CBS.  In essence they were admitting to monitoring Flynn, that’s why they were so nervous.  They were planning and plotting with Andrew McCabe about how they were going to exploit the phone-tap and the difference in public statements by VP Mike Pence.

There’s a good possibility Flynn was honest but his honesty contradicted Pence’s national statement on CBS; and Flynn likely tried to dance through a needle without being overly critical of VP-elect Pence misspeaking.   Remember, the alternative: if Flynn is brutally honest, the media now runs with a narrative about Vice-President Pence as a national liar.  

  • 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) 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 – (afternoonSally 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.

[*If you consider that McGahn was trying to thread the needle between Mike Pence’s poorly worded response to CBS, and Michael Flynn’s FBI questioning that came after Pence’s statement, McGahn would see the no-win situation Flynn was in during that inquisition.]

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.

This why the issue of how the FBI agents write the 302 summary of the Flynn interview becomes such an important facet.   We see that dynamic again playing out in the messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok; with Andrew McCabe providing the guidance.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 4/29/2019)

December 21, 2015 – Bill Priestap is unaware a key conduit for Steele to the FBI is DOJ official, Bruce Ohr

(…) “The FBI relied in large part on allegations contained in the so-called Steele dossier in obtaining a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The author of the dossier, former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, as well as the company he was hired by, Fusion GPS, were both feeding information to the FBI through different channels.

A key conduit for Steele to the FBI was high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Asked if he was familiar with Ohr, Priestap told lawmakers, “I think I’ve seen Bruce Ohr, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in a meeting with Bruce Ohr.” Priestap also said he never worked with Ohr on a counterintelligence investigation, which would include the FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia collusion:

Ms. Shen: So you have never worked with Bruce Ohr on a counterintelligence —

Mr. Priestap: I have not, no.

Priestap appeared to be completely unaware of the role that Ohr played in the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump campaign—or of Ohr’s meetings with the FBI.

On July 30, 2016, Ohr had a breakfast meeting with Steele. In the days immediately following this meeting, Ohr met with McCabe and Page in McCabe’s FBI office.

In either late September or early October 2016, Ohr had another meeting—this time with Strzok, Page, and two or three DOJ career officials from the criminal division: Bruce Swartz, Zainab Ahmad, and Andrew Weissman (Ohr testified that he was unsure whether Weismann was at this or a later meeting).

On Nov. 21, 2016, Ohr had an additional meeting with Strzok and Page where he was introduced to FBI agent Joe Pientka, who would become Ohr’s FBI handler. Pientka was also present with Strzok during the Jan. 24, 2017, interview of then-national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

On the following day, Nov. 22, 2016, Ohr met alone with Pientka. Ohr would continue to relay his communications with Steele to Pientka. Unbeknownst to Ohr, Pientka was transmitting all the information directly to Strzok for use in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation Priestap was overseeing.” (The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)