According to newly-discovered text messages, two senior federal law enforcement officials who were crucial figures in investigations into Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton purportedly made secret plans to meet with the judge who took the chair in the case against Michael Flynn.
The judge, Rudolph Contreras, was recused from managing Flynn’s case but only after he accepted a “guilty plea of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser who was charged with making false statements to federal investigators,” The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway reported.
The newly-emerged text messages about Contreras were between anti-Trump FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and anti-Trump FBI attorney Lisa Page. Sara A. Carter reports on the July 25, 2016, exchange between Strzok and Page:
Page: “Rudy is on the FISC! 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.”
Page: “Thought of it because you had to Google FISC judges and him there. I’m telling you.”
Strzok: “….She brought up a good point about being circumspect in talking to him in terms of not placing him into a situation where he’d have to recuse himself.”
Page: “I can’t imagine you either one of you could talk about anything in detail meaningful enough to warrant recusal … Anyway, maybe you meant to, but didn’t.’
Strzok: “Really? Rudy. I’m in charge of espionage for the FBI. Any espionage FISA comes before him, what should he do? Given his friend oversees them?”
Page: “Standards for recusal are quite high. I just don’t think this poses an actual conflict. And he doesn’t know what you do?”
Strzok: “Generally he does know what I do. Not the level or scope or area but he’s super thoughtful and rigorous about ethics and conflicts. (redacted) suggested a social setting with others would probably be better than a one on one meeting. I’m sorry, I’m just going to have to invite you to that cocktail party. Of course you’ll be there. Have to come up with some other work people cover for action.”
Page: “Why more? Six is a perfectly fine dinner party.”
Contreras approved Flynn’s guilty appeal in federal court on December 1, 2017, which was the day before The New York Times disclosed that Strzok had been dismissed from the case by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for text messages that exposed his excessive prejudice against the president.
According to the Federalist further, the text messages showing Page and Strzok plotting to meet with Contreras were in the beginning concealed from Congress. In records presented by DOJ to Congress, the exchanges referencing Contreras, and intentions to meet with him under the guise of a cocktail party, were completely edited for publication by federal law enforcement officials. The exchanges acquired by The Federalist contain information that was never turned over to Congress.
The Federalist notes that neither Contreras nor any other federal judiciary official had ever specified the reason behind Contreras’ removal from the Flynn case.