For those following the increasingly curious case against General Mike Flynn, events take another unusual turn today. Congressional investigators have shared a set of unredacted text messages between FBI Agent Peter Strzok and his cohort DOJ Attorney Lisa Page which reveal a personal friendship between Agent Strzok and Flynn’s initial presiding judge Rudolph Contreras.
On November 30th, 2017, Mike Flynn signed a guilty plea; ostensibly admitting lying to investigators. The plea was accepted by Judge Rudolph Contreras; who is also a FISA court judge. Six days later, December 7th, 2017, Judge Contreras “was recused” from the case without explanation.
The case was reassigned to DC District Judge Emmet Sullivan. The Contreras recusal always seemed sketchy. The key question was: if the conflict existed on December 7th, wouldn’t that same conflict have existed on November 30th, 2017?
Today questions about the conflict seem to have been answered. Text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page reveal the FBI agent and Judge Contreras were close personal friends. –SEE HERE–
Apparently DOJ lawyer Lisa Page was unaware that “Rudy” was a FISA court judge until July 25th, 2016, when she posited a question to her small group co-conspirator FBI agent Peter Strzok.
[Page is ‘outbox’, Strzok is ‘inbox’]
PAGE: Rudy is on the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court]! Did you know that?” “Just appointed two months ago”
STRZOK: “I did. We talked about it before and after. I need to get together with him.
Contreras was appointed to the FISA Court court in May 2016. The FISA court approved a Title-1 Surveillance Warrant against Trump campaign aide Carter Page on October 26th, 2016, essentially placing the entire Trump campaign under FBI surveillance. That surveillance was then used against incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The FBI agent questioning Michael Flynn in January 2017 was Peter Strzok. The judge presiding over the sketchy Flynn plea, an outcome of that interview, was Strzok’s friend Judge Rudolph “Rudy” Contreras. Therein lies the conflict.
However, that said, it must be emphasized that -despite the existing conflict- Contreras did not recuse himself from the initial Flynn pleading. Contreras allowed himself to sit on the case on November 30th, when the plea was made. It wasn’t until six days later, December 7th, 2017, that Contreras “was recused” from the Flynn case.
So what happened between November 30th and December 7th, 2017?
It became public knowledge that personal communication between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page was captured by IG investigators. That’s what happened.
Think about it.
Think about when everything began to break out from the headlines about the IG investigation, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie Ohr, and the corrupt small group activity within the FBI and DOJ team effort. It would be intellectually dishonest not to note all of the FBI conspiracy revelations happened immediately after Mike Flynn signed the guilty plea.
Within a matter of days between December 1st and December 7th, 2017, the reports of gross malfeasance within the DOJ and FBI went from a snowball to an avalanche. Peter Strzok (demoted), Lisa Page (removed), Bruce Ohr (demoted 2x), Nellie Ohr working for Fusion GPS; troubling communication with FBI chief-legal-counsel James Baker(demoted); evidence of FBI Deputy Director Andrew “Andy” McCabe’s involvement in a small group conspiracy (removed); FBI Communications head Michael “Mike” Kortan was outed (he quit); McCabe’s Chief of Staff James Rybicki was outed (he quit); etc. The list goes on.
Judge Rudolph Contreras, now exposed as a fellow ideological traveler and personal friend of the principal agent amid the scheme only raises more questions. Rudolph Contreras also has a strong ideological relationship with former Attorney General Eric Holder, President Obama’s notoriously political DOJ wingman:
2012 […] From 2006 until his appointment, Contreras was chief of the civil division in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington. He’s the third person to hold that job before being appointed to the D.C. court, joining Chief Judge Royce Lamberth and Judge John Bates.
Contreras began his career at Jones Day law firm after earning his J.D. in 1991. Gregory Shumaker, partner-in-charge of Jones Day’s Washington office, spoke yesterday about first meeting Contreras when Shumaker was running the firm’s summer associate program. He said Contreras had a gift for connecting with people, a skill that would serve him well on the bench.
In 1994, Contreras was hired by Eric Holder Jr., then the U.S. attorney for D.C., to join that office. Mark Nagle, vice president and general counsel for Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. and Contreras’ predecessor as civil division chief, spoke about Contreras’ many victories, including his time leading the city’s Medicaid fraud unit. (read more)
There’s more than a general likelihood Judge Contreras was granting, FBI investigative and DOJ prosecutorial, leeway for the ideological endeavors of the DOJ/FBI “small group” given his personal and professional relationships.
But the entire fact-pattern still doesn’t answer a nagging 30,000 foot question: Did someone intercede and recuse Judge Rudolph Contreras from the Flynn case? -OR- Did Judge Contreras recuse himself *after* he realized his relationship with Strzok was exposed? The former seems likely, the latter less so.
Judge Collyer was the FISA judge who wrote the eye-opening 99-page opinion of the FISA abuses reported by NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, DOJ National Security Division head John P Carlin, and FBI Director James Comey.
Presiding FISA Court Judge Rosemary Collyer might have been the same Presiding FISA Judge who -holding concerns over ongoing FISC revelations in late 2017- recused Rudolph Contreras from further contact with the Flynn case. The other option for a forced recusal would the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts.