House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., wants 17 current and former FBI or Justice Department officials to testify on Capitol Hill about possible government surveillance abuse during the 2016 election, including fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and embattled FBI official Peter Strzok.
In a letter obtained by Fox News, Nunes requests that the joint task force of the Oversight and Judiciary Committees take steps to interview these officials because they may “have relevant information.”
The House Intelligence Committee does not have direct oversight over the FBI and the DOJ, so testimony is more likely to be compelled by referring names to the Oversight and Judiciary Committees.
“For the sake of transparency and to keep the American people as fully informed as possible about these matters, the task force should consider interviewing these individuals in an open setting,” Nunes wrote in the Friday letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte.
Among those named by Nunes are Joseph Pientka, the agent who was part of the FBI’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has also attempted to speak with Pientka, but the DOJ has rebuffed his requests.
Flynn pleaded guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe to making false statements to the FBI in that interview. He also lost his job at the White House after he was said to have misled Vice President Pence about a discussion with the Russian ambassador at that time, Sergey Kislyak.
But Republicans on Capitol Hill are seeking more information about that interview, as recent revelations have raised questions about the guilty plea itself. They say former FBI Director James Comey in fact indicated to lawmakers that FBI agents did not believe Flynn intentionally lied about the talks with Russia’s ambassador.
The full list of 17 officials named by Nunes include:
- Trisha Anderson, DOJ lawyer
- James Baker, former FBI general counsel
- Gregory Brower, former FBI congressional liaison
- John Carlin, former head of the DOJ’s national security division
- Kevin Clinesmith, FBI lawyer
- Tashina Gauhar, DOJ official
- David Laufman, former head of DOJ's counterintelligence division
- Andrew McCabe, former FBI deputy director
- Mary McCord, former DOJ lawyer
- Jonathan Moffa, FBI official
- Sally Moyer, FBI lawyer
- Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy attorney general
- Lisa Page, former FBI lawyer
- Joseph Pientka, FBI agent
- E.W. “Bill” Priestap, assistant director of the FBI counterintelligence division
- Peter Strzok, FBI agent
- George Toscas, DOJ official
Fox News has reached out to the FBI and Justice for comment.
The letter comes after Strzok, who was escorted from FBI headquarters recently ahead of possible disciplinary action, faced questions behind closed doors in Congress this week over the anti-Trump text messages that he sent while playing a key role in the FBI’s Hillary Clinton and Russia investigations.
Earlier this month, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, in a comprehensive report on the handling of the Clinton email investigation, exposed new text messages between Strzok and his girlfriend, then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
According to Horowitz’s report, Page texted Strzok in August 2016 and said: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded.
Nunes has suggested that the FBI may have violated criminal statutes, as well as its own strict internal procedures, by using unverified information during the 2016 election to obtain a surveillance warrant on onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
A memo released by the intelligence committee in February stated that the FBI and DOJ sought surveillance warrants to spy on Page by using the infamous, Democrat-funded anti-Trump dossier that included salacious and unverified allegations about Trump's connections to Russia.