U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras, who presided over the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, had a personal relationship with Peter Strzok, the corrupt counterintelligence agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The unethical conflict of interest, which is clear from a new batch of text messages obtained by Fox news between Mr. Strzok and his lover Lisa Page, has only now been discovered after Judge Contreras recused himself.
“Rudy is on the FISC! Did you know that?” Ms. Page texted Mr. Strzok on July 25, 2016. “Just appointed two months ago.”
“I did,” Mr. Strzok replied. “We talked about it before and after. I need to get together with him.”
Judge Contreras, referred to in the text messages by his first name, was appointed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in 2016. Mr. Strzok mentions “a graduation party” he and Judge Contreras had recently attended together and even stressed the need for “being circumspect in talking to him in terms of not placing him into a situation where he’d have to recuse himself.”
Page replied that she couldn’t “imagine either one of you could talk about anything in detail meaningful enough to warrant recusal.”
“Standards for recusal are quite high,” she adds. “I just don’t think this poses an actual conflict. And he doesn’t know what you do?”
“Generally he does know what I do. Not the level or scope or area,” Mr. Strzok messaged. “But he’s super thoughtful and rigorous about ethics and conflicts.”
He was replaced by District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, a no-nonsense man who was appointed by Barack Obama. Judge Sullivan ended the stonewalling by the State Department over a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. The material provided was damning to Hillary Clinton and the FBI investigation into her illegal use of a private server to conduct official State business.
FBI agents, to include Mr. Strzok, interviewed Michael Flynn over his conversation with a Russian ambassador. As fired former FBI director James Comey told Congress, the team concluded that General Flynn did not intentionally mislead agents and did not believe charges were warranted.
However, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who hired both Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page before he fired last summer in an attempt to avoid criticism, decided to override those recommendations and charge General Flynn.
General Flynn was forced to sell his house to pay his legal fees only to end up having to plead guilty.
Judge Sullivan filed an order directing Mr. Mueller to provide General Flynn with any evidence in the special counsel’s possession that is favorable to him, whether on the issue of guilt or of sentencing. The order stresses that Mr. Mueller is permitted to determine whether evidence is “material” or if General Flynn is entitled to disclosure of it.
Mr. Mueller must show the evidence to the court. Judge Sullivan made it clear that he will decide whether to mandate its disclosure.
Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Joe diGenova told Fox News on Friday Judge Contreras “never should have taken the case.”
“That explains why he recused himself,” he said. “He knew he was a friend of Strzok’s when the case came to him. He should allow Flynn to withdraw the guilty plea.”