Last Thursday it was announced that U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras was mysteriously recused from the Special Counsel case against General Mike Flynn, five days after Judge Contreras accepting the initial pleading. No explanation as to ‘why’?
(Reuters) The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia judge presiding over the criminal case for President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has been recused from handling the case, a court spokeswoman said on Thursday. (read more)
One might think the media apparatus, or pundit proletariat writ large, might be curious about why a U.S. District Court Judge would be recused. Alas One would be wrong. The recusal angle is transparently missing from any follow-up by media; and apparently the judicial cat also has stolen the tongue of congressional curiosity. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
The story has been memory holed into the concentric whirlpool of nothingness.
We have speculated that U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras was recused, either by himself or by challenge, because he is also a FISA Court Judge and could have signed off on the October FISA warrant that led to the wiretapping and surveillance of General Flynn. However, we have received information that it wasn’t ‘by challenge’, leaving the preponderance of the motive for recusal directly upon Judge Contreras personal decision.
However, if Judge Contreras ‘recused himself’ based on the conflict within the FISA warrant he approved, the question then becomes why did he even allow himself to preside over the first hearing of General Mike Flynn’s rather odd guilty plea?
Was the October 2016 FISA warrant part of the evidence in the overall process charge against Mike Flynn? What are the rules of FISA warrant content in cases where the warrant leads to a prosecution? Did Judge Contreras sit on the initial plea hearing so another judge would not see the FISA information, recognize any problems, and maybe not approve the plea?
The only two significant things that happened between the initial Mike Flynn plea hearing and the recusal from Judge Contreras was:
#1) The stories about anti-Trump FBI Agent Peter Strzok and his involvement with Fusion-GPS and Christopher Steele; and
#2) FBI Director Chris Wray appearing before the House Judicial Committee and hearing Representative Jim Jordan demand to see the 2016 FISA application.
In fact, Judge Contreras recused himself only a few hours after that House Judicial Committee hearing.
These are all just general questions that stem from Judge Contreras appearing to concede to a conflict, but doing so only AFTER the first administrative hearing on the case. If the conflict existed on December 7th 2017, such that a recusal was needed, would not that conflict exist prior to December 7th, 2017?
Apparently no-one else is in the least bit curious; and absent of anyone seeking such clarity; it leads CTH to wonder if U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras wasn’t possibly the same judge that denied the initial FISA application in June of 2016.
It’s very rare that a FISA application is denied. Considering he possibility the denial was based, in part, on the target (candidate Donald Trump) of the FISA warrant; and considering the massive ramifications within the U.S. government applying to monitor, wiretap and use surveillance upon a presidential candidate; it would not be a stretch to think Judge Contreras would establish a ‘higher threshold’ for granting such authority.
Given what we know now, that we did not know before, namely that FBI Agent Peter Strzok and DOJ Deputy Bruce Ohr were part of the counterintelligence operation that began in July 2016…. and understanding that Nellie Ohr, Bruce’s wife, was working for Fusion GPS the contractor for Christopher Steele and the Russian Dossier…. ultimately hired by Hillary Clinton;…. and accepting that the information within the dossier was part of the underlying FISA application… the entire construct of the FISA application is suspect.
Adding yet another layer to that sketchy outline, today it is revealed that Peter Strzok’s mistress within the DOJ, Lisa Page, might have been the actual DOJ official to apply for the FISA warrant. (SEE HERE)
Which takes us back to U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras. Was the recusal an outcome of Contreras recognizing the concerns he expressed in the June 2016 FISA denial, that were later presumably belayed with a more narrow FISA application, evidenced in his seeing how the FISA warrant he granted being used against the defendant that appeared in his courtroom.
Did Contreras see in Flynn’s outcome – evidence of what he feared would happen? And that lead to Judge Contreras deciding to recuse himself from the case?
So many questions, and yet a transparent lack of overall curiosity around the recusal.
FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s former boss was Bill Priestap, FBI Asst. Director in charge of Counterintelligence. [The same Bill Priestap James Comey stated was the person who decided not to tell congressional oversight of the investigation] Bill Priestap’s boss was FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Directly above McCabe in the chain-of-command was FBI Director James Comey.
Inside the DOJ: Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce G Ohr’s former boss was Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Sally Yates boss was Attorney General Loretta Lynch.