Graham and his staff kept Republican members of the Judiciary Committee in the dark about an interview of key Russiagate figure Joe Pientka on Thursday, multiple sources told The Federalist.
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his staff kept Republican members of that committee in the dark about a pivotal interview of key Russiagate figure Joe Pientka, multiple sources familiar with Thursday’s proceedings told The Federalist.
Graham and his committee investigative staff, helmed by chief investigative counsel Zach Somers, did not inform Republican members of the committee about the interview, multiple Judiciary Committee sources told The Federalist. Even Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who has sought an interview with Pientka since 2018, was not told about Thursday’s interview, according to a spokesman for his office.
“Sen. Grassley’s staff was not aware this interview was happening,” a spokesman for the Iowa senator said. He added that Grassley and his staff had been “interested in speaking with Pientka for a while.”
“We were not informed” of the interview of Pientka, another top aide to a Republican senator on the Judiciary Committee told The Federalist.
Pientka, a career FBI agent who voluntarily agreed to be interviewed by Senate investigators on Thursday, is at the center of multiple investigations of FBI abuses during the course of the bureau’s anti-Trump investigations both before and after the 2016 elections. Pientka was the agent who in August of 2016 used a fake so-called “defensive briefing” to spy on Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, and Chris Christie during the heat of the presidential campaign. Pientka, along with fired former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, was also part of the illegal ambush interview of then-White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in January of 2017.