recusal

May 12, 2019 – President Trump Calls Out FBI Director Christopher Wray: “the director is protecting the coup gang”…and then there’s Dana Boente

“President Trump indicates he is well aware of the intents and motives of FBI Director Christopher Wray covering for the illegal coup effort:

President Trump may have been aware of Chris Wray’s corrupt disposition prior to today; however, this is the first visible indication he understands the internecine organization of it.  Hopefully we can start the countdown clock to Wray’s exit.

Next up, Chris Wray’s #1 strategic hire, current FBI Legal Counsel Dana Boente.

In 2015 the DOJ-OIG (office of inspector general) requested oversight of the DOJ National Security Division.  It was Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates who responded with a lengthy 58 page legal explanation saying, essentially, ‘nope – not allowed.’ (PDF HERE) All of the DOJ is subject to oversight, except the DOJ-NSD.

When John Carlin resigned as Asst. Attorney General in charge of the DOJ National Security Division in October 2016 he was replaced by Principal Deputy Asst. Attorney General and Chief of Staff, Mary McCord.  After President Trump took office on January 20th, 2017, Sally Yates was Acting AG and Mary McCord was in charge of the DOJ-NSD.

Yates and McCord were the two Main Justice officials who then engaged with White House Counsel Don McGahn on January 26th, 2017, regarding the General Flynn FBI interview conducted on January 24th.  The Trump-Russia Collusion Conspiracy was the headline.

On January 30th, 2017, Sally Yates was fired for refusing to defend the Trump travel ban from extremist countries.  Yates was replaced on January 31st by the U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), Dana Boente.

With his shift to Main Justice Dana Boente was Acting Attorney General, and Mary McCord was Asst. AG in charge of the DOJ-NSD.  Boente was in the Acting AG position from Jan 31st, 2017, until Jeff Sessions was confirmed on February 8th, 2017.

When Jeff Sessions became AG, Dana Boente became Acting Deputy AG, a role he would retain until Rod Rosenstein was confirmed on April 25th, 2017.   [Mary McCord remained head of the DOJ-National Security Division]

On March 2nd, 2017, Dana Boente was one of the small group who participated in a conversation that led to the recusal of Jeff Sessions from anything related to the 2016 election.  This recusal included the ongoing FBI counterintelligence investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane, which was later picked up by Robert Mueller.

The other attendees for the recusal decision-making meeting (see above schedule) included Sessions’ chief of staff Jody Hunt; Criminal Chief in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, Jim Crowell; Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) in the Department of Justice National Security Division Tash Gauhar (FISA lawyer); and Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott Schools.  [Note: Tash Gauhar was lawyer for FBI Clinton case; and Scott Schools was part of drafting Clinton exoneration letter.]

The Main Justice group influenced Jeff Sessions to recuse.

With AG Jeff Sessions recused on March 2, 2017, FBI Director James Comey now reported to Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente.  [Technically, Boente is still EDVA U.S. Attorney and is only ‘acting’ as Deputy AG]  Additionally, on March 31st, 2017, President Trump signs executive order 13787 making the U.S. EDVA Attorney the 3rd in line for DOJ succession.

Question:  If Dana Boente was appointed “Acting Attorney General” on January 31st, 2017 (he was), then why did Don McGahn need to draw up XO 13787 on March 31st, 2017… especially after confirmed AG Jeff Sessions was already in place Feb 9th?

The answer likely has to do with a sign-off needed for FISA.

See the issue?

How does somebody (unknown) advise White House Counsel Don McGahn to draw up an executive order so that Boente can sign a FISA…. without telling Don McGahn the reason why AG Sessions can’t sign off on the FISA?   See the issue now?

In the period between March 2nd and April 25th – With AG Sessions recused, and without a Deputy AG confirmed, Dana Boente is simultaneously:

  • U.S. Attorney for EDVA
  • Acting Deputy AG.
  • Acting AG for all issues related to Sessions recusal.

It is James Comey and Dana Boente who sign the April 2017 FISA renewal for Carter Page.

This dynamic would later become important as notes Boente took from conversations with James Comey became evidence for Mueller’s expanded obstruction investigation. (March 2, 2017 Mary McCord is still head of DOJ-NSD.)

Somehow Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente’s personal and handwritten notes were mysteriously leaked to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/12/2019)

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.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

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
counterintelligence division.”

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.

The first draft of that dossier was reported to be passed out in June/July 2016.

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”.

(Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 12/08/2017)

December 7, 2017 – The judge overseeing the prosecution of Michael Flynn, has been recused from the case

Judge Rudolph Contreras (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/National Law Journal)

“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.)

October 26, 2016 – McCabe and other NY FBI officials “got ripped” by Loretta Lynch in a conference call about leaks re Eric Garner

The DOJ OIG report on Andrew McCabe released in February, 2018, describes the following:

McCabe told the OIG that during the October 2016 time frame, it was his “perception that there was a lot of information coming out of likely the [FBI’s] New York Field Office” that was ending up in the news. McCabe told the OIG that he “had some heated back-and-forths” with the New York Assistant Director in Charge (“NY-ADIC”) over the issue of media leaks.

A print version of the article was published in the WSJ on Monday, October 24, 2016.

(…) On October 26, 2016, McCabe and NY-ADIC participated in what McCabe described as “a hastily convened conference call with the Attorney General who delivered the same message to us” about leaks, with specific focus being on leaks regarding the high-profile investigation by FBI’s New York Field Office into the death of Eric Garner. McCabe told us that he “never heard her use more forceful language.” NY-ADIC confirmed that the participants got “ripped by the AG on leaks.”

According to NY-ADIC’s testimony and an e-mail he sent to himself on October 31, McCabe indicated to NY-ADIC and a then-FBI Executive Assistant Director (“EAD”) in a conversation after Attorney General Lynch disconnected from the call that McCabe was recusing himself from the CF Investigation. According to NY-ADIC’s e-mail, McCabe told them “he may make a more formal decision at a later time.” NY-ADIC stated during his OIG interview: “I think [McCabe] couched it as like, hey, this is not final . . . I don’t know, I think he says he still has to talk about it.” NY-ADIC stated that he clarified with McCabe that unless McCabe told him otherwise, NY-ADIC would begin reporting to EAD on the CF Investigation.

McCabe, however, told the OIG that he did not recall such a conversation. He said, “I suppose it’s possible that I may have referred to the concept if that was being discussed generally at the time. But I would not have said to [NY-ADIC], like, I’m thinking about recusing.” (DOJ OIG Report, February, 2018)

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)