“Last night news broke that U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras “has been recused” from the case overseeing the prosecution of General Mike Flynn. Details are vague. According to Reuters, both the judge and the Flynn legal team have yet to comment.
(…) Obviously, the customary reason for recusal is when there is a conflict of interest between the case as assigned and the judge overseeing it. However, as you can clearly see, in this case it’s rather odd that if a conflict existed the judge would have even begun to oversee the case at the prior hearing. Why wait until six days after the first hearing?
As to the reasoning for the recusal, and stressed against the backdrop of the new information surrounding the investigative practices of the DOJ and FBI, this recusal is potentially both a game-changer and a massive dose of sunlight.
(…) Judge Contreras was in the position of approving FISA warrants at the time when FBI Deputy Head of Counterintelligence, FBI Agent Peter Strzok was assembling the underlying information for the FISA warrant used against candidate Trump.
There is a very real possibility that Judge Contreras signed off on the FISA warrant in October 2016 that initiated the counterintelligence wiretapping and surveillance of the Trump campaign. That wiretapping and surveillance ultimately led to the questioning of Michael Flynn; the consequence of which brings Flynn to Contreras courtroom.
However, before getting to those ramifications it is important to step back for a moment and review the former March 20th, 2017, congressional testimony of FBI Director James Comey.
We have drawn attention to this testimony frequently, because it is one of the few times when congress has pinned Comey down and made him commit to specifics. In fact, for an otherwise innocuous congressional hearing, this specific segment has been viewed over 400,000 times. When we understand the importance of the content – we accept that perhaps even James Comey’s own lawyers have watched it repeatedly.
The first three minutes of this video are what is important. As you watch this testimony remember to overlay what you know now against the James Comey statements from nine months ago.
I would particularly draw your attention to the timeline as Comey describes (counterintelligence investigation beginning in July 2016); and also to pay attention to the person Comey assigns responsibility for keeping congress out of the loop on oversight. Comey points to the DOJ’s National Security Division Head who is in charge of the counterintelligence operations, Bill Priestap. However, Comey doesn’t use Priestap’s name:
…”it’s usually the decision of the head of our
Everything happens in the first three minutes:
It’s obvious James Comey was not anticipating that line of questioning. His discomfort and obfuscation pours out within his words and body language. However, from that testimony we gain insight which we can add to the latest information.
We know the DNC and Clinton Campaign commissioned opposition research in April of 2016 through Fusion GPS, who sub-contracted Christopher Steele. Between April and July of 2016 the retired MI6 agent put together opposition research on Donald Trump centered around a claimed network of dubious and sketchy Russian contacts.
Notice the FBI counterintelligence operation began in July 2016. That directly and specifically lines up with the recent discoveries surrounding Deputy Head of Counterintelligence, FBI Agent Peter Strzok and the new information about Agent Strzok having direct contact with Christopher Steele, the author for the “Russian Dossier”.
Additionally, the July 2016 time-frame lines up with candidate Donald Trump winning the GOP nomination, and also the first application for a wiretapping and surveillance warrant to the FISA court which was unusually denied by a FISA judge.
Very few FISA requests are ever denied. Actually, only like 1 out of 100 are denied. So for a FISA request to be denied, there had to be a really compelling reason to require more than the traditional amount of FBI/DOJ due diligence within the request.
If you consider that monitoring associates within a presidential campaign would certainly be one of those types of requests which would lend a judge GREAT pause, well, perhaps the denial gains perspective. Certainly any FISA judge would easily understand the potential ramifications of the U.S. government conducting surveillance on a presidential campaign.
However, in October 2016 the second FISA request was granted.
What else happened in October of 2016?
According to media reports in October of 2016 the full and completed Russian Dossier was being heavily shopped by Fusion GPS with payments toward journalists. Additionally, in October 2016, according to yesterday’s headlines: DOJ Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce G Ohr was outed and demoted because he too had conversations with Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS etc.
So in the month where a FISA Judge granted the warrant for wiretapping and surveillance, the FBI (via Agent Strzok), and DOJ (via Deputy AG Bruce Ohr), were both in contact with Russian Dossier author Christopher Steele.
October 2016 is EXACTLY when The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. As Andrew McCarthy pointed out months ago: “No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.” (link)
Are you seeing how the dots connect?
June/July 2016 a FISA request is denied. This is simultaneous to FBI agent Strzok initial contact with Christopher Steele and the preliminary draft of the dossier.
October 2016 a FISA request approved. This is simultaneous to agent Strzok and Assoc. Deputy AG Bruce G Ohr in contact with Christopher Steele and the full dossier.
It would be EXPLOSIVE if it turned out the FISA warrant was gained by deception, misleading/manipulated information, or fraud; and that warrant that led to the wiretapping and surveillance of General Flynn was authorized by FISA Court Judge Contreras – who would now be judge in Flynn’s case.
Is this the recusal reason?
Additionally, was that “Dossier” part of the collective intelligence gathering that led to the ridiculous (January 2017) “Russian Malicious Cyber Activity – Joint Analysis Report“? The report that attempted to give justification for the December 29th Russian sanctions, and made famous by the media falsely claiming 17 agencies agreed on the content.
Back to the timeline we go, and remember NSA head Admiral Mike Rogers was the one Intelligence Community official without *confidence* in the “Joint Analysis Report”.