Judge Rudolph Contreras
May 11, 2018 – Senator Grassley reveals name of second FBI agent who interviewed General Flynn
“Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has just dropped a sunlight grenade into the prosecution of Michael Flynn with a jaw-dropping request letter (full pdf below) to FBI Director Christopher Wray. [Judiciary Link Here]
Within the letter Chairman Grassley outlines a prior briefing from fired FBI Director James Comey to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and contrasts the false presentations of Comey -regarding Michael Flynn- against recently known evidence.
Additionally, Grassley is requesting: the transcription of the phone call(s) intercepted by the FBI between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Kislyak; the FD 302’s written by the FBI in their interview with Michael Flynn; and testimony from Special Agent Joe Pientka, likely the second FBI agent who was partnered with Peter Strzok for the Flynn interview.
The name of the second FBI agent was previously unknown, and it’s likely Chairman Grassley outed the name for a very specific reason. This is a BIG shot across the bow.
Previously the Justice Department was refusing to provide any information to the committee pertinent to Grassley’s requests, citing the ongoing investigation. However, the Senator is now outlining his request against the backdrop of the Judge in the Flynn case demanding the Special Counsel turn over all exculpatory information.
It is important to remember – there is a widely held belief that Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the FBI agents (Strzok and Pientka) to shape their FBI reports of the interview (FD-302’s) to assist a “Flynn lied” narrative.
There is a great deal of debate surrounding the guilty plea as an outcome of a carefully constructed and coordinated plan by FBI and DOJ officials to target Flynn.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/11/2018)
January 31, 2018 – Robert Mueller requests postponement of General Mike Flynn sentencing
“Against a newly discovered likelihood the Robert Mueller investigation began under false pretenses; and against the backdrop that FBI surveillance and wiretaps were obtained through materially (intentionally) false representations to the FISA court; and against the backdrop the original Flynn plea judge (Contrereas) was also the approving FISA judge; and that judge ‘was summarily recused’ from the case; and against increasing evidence that Mike Flynn was set up by a terminal animus, and politically-motivated investigative rogue unit, operating within the FBI; and against surfacing IG Horowitz evidence that FBI investigators manipulated (lied on) their FD-302 interrogation documents; and understanding those falsified 302’s were used in the Mueller/Flynn charging document…
…Special Counsel Robert Mueller now asks for postponement of sentencing:
Both parties did not ‘request‘ a postponement; both parties ‘agreed‘ to a postponement. The motive for the request (Mueller) is entirely divergent from, yet complimentary to, the motive to agree to the request (Flynn).
It is not coincidental that Brandon L Van Grack is the signatory to the delay request by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s request to the new Judge, Emmet G Sullivan.
If, as has been reported, Inspector General Michael Horowitz now has evidence the FBI manipulated their FD-302 (interrogation and questioning) documents, as also admitted by FBI agent Peter Strzok in related matters regarding Clinton…
…and those manipulated or falsified FBI 302’s (containing FBI investigative notes of Michael Flynn’s questioning during the January 2017 interview), were used in the actual Flynn charging documents.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 1/31/2018)
December 7, 2017 – Opinion: THE BIG UGLY – Why U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras Recusal From Mike Flynn Case is a Big Deal
“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”.
December 7, 2017 – The judge overseeing the prosecution of Michael Flynn, has been recused from the case
“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.
According to a court filing, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras, who presided over a Dec. 1 hearing where Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russia, will no longer handle the case.
Court spokeswoman Lisa Klem did not say why Contreras was recused, and added that the case was randomly reassigned.
Reuters could not immediately learn the reason for the recusal, or reach Contreras.
An attorney for Flynn declined to comment.
Now, Flynn’s sentencing will be overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. Sullivan was appointed by former Democratic President Bill Clinton. (Read more: Reuters, 12/07/2017)
(Timeline editor’s note: It isn’t clear from this report whether Judge Contreras recused himself, or whether he was recused by another person.)
July 25, 2016 – Peter Strzok/Lisa Page texts reveal a friendship with FISA court judge Rudolph Contreras
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?
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.
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.
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.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 3/16/2018)