Michael Kortan, the FBI’s top press officer during the Hillary Clinton and Trump-Russia investigations, lied multiple times under oath with the DOJ IG about tickets he received to major league sporting events from both CNN and NYT’s reporters. It’s interesting to note; the top FBI official did not receive tickets from Fox News.
Michael Kortan, who served as assistant director of public affairs, displayed a “lack of candor” during multiple interviews under oath with the DOJ watchdog about how he obtained the tickets, who he went with, and whether he reimbursed the CNN journalist, according to the report. Kortan, a top aide of the disgraced former FBI director, James Comey, left the FBI in February 2018.
Fox News reported about the departure of Michael Kortan, one of Comey’s top aides.
After Comey became director in September 2013, Kortan helped facilitate regular on-the-record briefings with beat reporters, a departure from previous directors.
Kortan also was front and center during the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and especially in July 2016 — coordinating media coverage and handing out copies of Comey’s public statement recommending against criminal charges in the investigation into mishandling of classified information. Kortan also surfaced in text messages released between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
While those texts have drawn attention for their anti-Trump sentiments, Kortan also seemed to surface in a message warning about the contents of 302s, which were FBI interview summaries from the Clinton email case, that weren’t given to Congress up-front. In the September 2016 text, Strzok wrote that “there are VERY inflammatory things in the 302s we didn’t turn over to [Congress]…that are going to come out in FOIA and absolutely inflames Congress. I’m sure Jim and Trisha and Dave and Mike are all considering how things like that play out as they talk amongst themselves.”
“Mike” would appear to be a reference to Kortan.
According to the Daily Caller – FBI policy prohibits employees from receiving gifts from “prohibited sources,” including journalists who cover the bureau.
The office of the inspector general (OIG), which is led by Michael Horowitz, discovered Kortan’s contacts with the CNN reporter during a review of his text messages as part of the investigation into the FBI’s activities during the 2016 presidential election.
Kortan’s media contacts and those of other FBI officials are noted on page 430 of the DOJ inspector general’s report from June 14, 2018, regarding the bureau’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.
The DOJ IG’s report shows Kortan originally lied about who he took to a September 2016 baseball game. In the report, Kortan told investigators that he took a civilian to the Nationals game. Kortan later reversed his story and admitted a female FBI employee accompanied him to the game.
Kortan was also asked why he lied about the location of the seats CNN gave him, claiming they were only “general section” tickets, “when they were clearly accessible only through a secured bar lounge area which required specific tickets to access.” Kortan called the tickets, “nothing extraordinary.”
According to the Daily Caller – On Oct. 16, 2018, the OIG separately released a summary of the Kortan investigation (though without identifying him). The summary said that the Justice Department declined prosecution in the case.
The full investigative report shows that Kortan resigned from the FBI on Feb. 16, 2018, while the OIG investigation was ongoing.