Senator Grassley appears to be preparing to bust the frame-up of General Flynn
Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, the laconic Midwesterner with a steel trap mind, dropped a bombshell yesterday with a letter (the full letter appears below – pdf here) to Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein (who supervises the Mueller probe) and FBI director Christopher Wray. But in keeping with Grassley's style, which has so often misled his opponents into overconfidence, you have to read between the lines to see where he is heading. The end point: uncovering the plot to frame General Flynn for lying to the FBI, including likely criminal acts by senior members of the FBI.
Recall that facing financial ruin, and threats to prosecute his son on unrelated charges, General Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, yet James Comey told the Grassley Committee in a briefing:
[T]he FBI agents who interviewed Lt. General Michael Flynn, "saw nothing that led them to believe [he was] lying." Our own Committee staff's notes indicate that Mr. Comey said the "agents saw no change in his demeanor or tone that would say he was being untruthful." Contrary to his public statements during his current book tour denying any memory of those comments, then-Director Comey led us to believe during that briefing that the agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he intentionally lied about his conversation with the Ambassador and that the Justice Department was unlikely to prosecute him for false statements made in that interview. In the months since then, the Special Counsel obtained a guilty plea from Lt. General Flynn for that precise alleged conduct.
Comey has since changed his tune, in "a Fox News interview in which he denied he ever told lawmakers that he did not believe Michael Flynn lied."
General Flynn's sentencing has been delayed repeatedly, as Judge Emmett Sullivan (who replaced Judge Contreras after he was removed from the case) has demanded that all exculpatory evidence be handed over to him.
Grassley is now demolishing the excuses that the FBI and DOJ have used to deny the same evidence to his committee:
The Department has withheld the Flynn-related documents since our initial bipartisan request last year, citing an ongoing criminal investigation. With Flynn's plea, the investigation appears concluded. Additionally, while we are aware that the Special Counsel's office has moved to delay Lt. General Flynn's sentencing on several occasions, we presume that all related records already have been provided to the defense pursuant to Judge Sullivan's February 16, 2018 order requiring production of all potentially exculpatory material. Thus, although the case is not yet adjudicated, the Committee's oversight interest in the underlying documents requested more than a year ago now outweighs any legitimate executive branch interest in withholding it. So too does the Committee's interest in learning the FBI agents' actual assessments of their interview of Lt. Gen. Flynn, particularly given the apparent contradiction between what [then-director] Comey told us in March 2017 and what he now claims. Accordingly, no later than May 25, 2018, please provide: 1. The information requested in our February 15, 2017 letter, including the transcripts of the reportedly intercepted calls and any FBI reports summarizing them; and 2. The FBI agents' 302s memorializing their interview of Flynn and 1A supporting docs, including the agents' notes[.]
The killer bombshell is the final paragraph, in which Grassley at long last reveals the name of the other FBI agent present when Peter Strzok interviewed General Flynn about his conversation with Russian ambassador Kislyak and requests an interview with him by committee staff members:
[P]lease make Special Agent Joe Pientka available for a transcribed interview with Committee staff no later than one week following the production of the requested documents[.]
As Sundance of Conservative Tree House points out, "it's likely Chairman Grassley outed the name for a very specific reason."
And what might that reason be? Sundance reminds us of previously released text messages between the lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page:
Regarding the "widely held belief" that Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the FBI agents (Strzok and Pientka) to shape their FBI reports of the interview (FD-302's) to assist a "Flynn lied" narrative…. evidence of that is within the most recent text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok:
♦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)
♦Why would Page & Strzok be stressed about "THIS" potentially going off the rails if everything was by the book?
BECAUSE IT WASN'T!
It was a conspiracy to entrap Gen Mike Flynn. All Strzok needed was an excuse to speak w Flynn. Everything in the 302 was likely fabricated.
♦February 14th, 2017, there is another note about the FBI reports filed from the interview.
Peter Strzok asks Lisa Page if FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is OK with his report: "Also, is Andy good with F-302?"
Lisa Page replies: "Launch on F 302".
And he reminds us that previously, on September 10, 2016, Strzok texted about withholding 302s that he called "VERY inflammatory"
So Andrew McCabe was "good" with the F-302, meaning there was some issue with them. Fabricated, as Sundance believes? A blogger calling himself "Stealth Jeff" writes:
[T]he fact that Grassley has now gotten the go ahead to publicly reveal this FBI agent's name is HUGE.
The endgame is approaching. They can reveal who their whistleblower is because it's too late. The IG reports on the Clinton Email fiasco and the FISC Court scheme are dropping any day now.
After that, when the public has digested them, the indictments are unsealed.
FBI Agent Joe Pientka ALSO filed a FD 302 form following that interview with Michael Flynn.
Now Grassley is demanding to see both his & Strzok's FD 302 forms from that interview.
And he's going to get them.
Make no mistake: if 302s were altered and Agent Pientka testifies to that, people are going to jail.
Complete Grassley letter: