Representative Mark Meadows and ¹Byron York had a podcast discussion yesterday that contains some interesting information. [Podcast Available Here] Much like Byron York himself the hour long conversation targets the DC crustless triangle sandwich & white wine spritzer audience, where York is most comfortable. That said, Meadows made some interesting comments that flew right over Yorks’ head.
♦ First, Representative Meadows discussed five witness interviews the House did not get to before they lost the majority. Two of the five people were FBI Agent Joe Pientka, and former FBI Asst. Director for Public Relations Mike Kortan; the other three were unnamed.
Meadows stated Kortan and Pientka were interviewed by Inspector General Horowitz; which is slightly remarkable because: (1) Kortan quit the FBI February 8th, 2018; and (2) Kortan was unlikely to have been much use in the FISA angle of investigation…. Unless Horowitz is going deeper. Regardless, let’s hope this interview with Kortan did take place.
FBI Asst. Director Kortan is important because he was in the middle of the conversations when media leaks were being strategically deployed to assist Strzok and Team. Kortan was the guy responsible for leaking information to the media so the FBI could recapture those media reports as evidence in their investigation; ie. the circular investigative material.
Kortan was a close, very close, confidant of FBI Director James Comey. Essentially Kortan was Comey’s personal PR man; and Comey spent a lot of time cultivating his image… so Kortan was a critical person for sanctimonious Comey and his personal brand image.
As noted: “After Comey became director in September 2013, Kortan helped facilitate regular on-the-record briefings with beat reporters, a departure from previous directors.” (link)
The role and relationship between Comey and Kortan is what led to Kortan attacking HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes when congress became openly critical of James Comey and the evidence of corruption they were finding in early 2018.
You might remember this public statement from the FBI which was put out AFTER Devin Nunes wrote the January 2018 “Nunes memo” and requested assistance from the White House to declassify it.
This is from Kortan on Wednesday January 31st, 2018:
…”With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it. As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”…
This official FBI statement was controversial at the time and was quoted extensively for weeks by Nunes’ detractors in the media and inside the DC beltway. The statement was not approved by FBI Director Christopher Wray.
The statement showed how Mike Kortan had gone rogue against Nunes in defense of his close friend and fellow weasel James Comey. Asst. Director Kortan was fired the following week.
♦ A second takeaway from the Meadows interview is how FBI Agent Joseph Pientka was never interviewed by the joint House judiciary and oversight committees (Goodlatte and Gowdy). The reason was simple, Pientka was on Mueller’s special counsel team. Congress was not allowed to interfere in the Mueller probe. In hindsight this again looks like Mueller & Rosenstein strategically using the investigation itself as a shield from sunlight.
According to Meadows, Inspector General Horowitz has interviewed Joe Pientka; which would make sense because much like Bruce Ohr, despite his obvious duplicitious character, Pientka is still working inside the FBI in some capacity. Bottom line: if Pientka wasn’t a corrupt part of the machinery he would never have participated.
♦ A third takeaway from the interview is the scale of documented contacts between DOJ official Bruce Ohr and Dossier launderer Christopher Steele. According to Meadows there are “63 documented contacts” between Steele and Ohr after the election.
It is likely congressional investigators are including face-to-face, phone, email and texts in the “63 contact” tally.
♦ A fourth takeaway from the interview is a key point often debated and misunderstood by those following the scandal. Representative Meadows went to specific lengths to tell Byron York that President Trump has never seen a single document that is currently on the list of documents being requested for declassification.
Many people who do not know how the executive branch works have falsely stated that President Trump knows what is in those declassification documents. He doesn’t. The Office of the Presidency is a system, not a person. The system is designed to protect the occupant of the office. It would be against the direct interests of the President to have full knowledge of the material inside the declassification requests.
The President is reliant upon the trust of advisers to inform him of the value – or lack thereof; along with the legal and political risks therein; without any specific conversation about the content.
In short, President Trump may declassify material as requested, but other than general briefings, he has no idea what material is inside or behind the redactions. Again, understanding this process helps to explain procedural delays, and frustration from those without familiarity with all the roles attached to the executive.
There are other issues discussed in the interview, but the remaining conversation surrounds material of a general nature and most CTH readers are already familiar with the story. Listen to the INTERVIEW HERE.