by WorldTribune Staff, March 18, 2018
An FBI agent who was removed from the team of special counsel Robert Mueller over anti-Trump texts he exchanged with his FBI lawyer mistress was close friends with a judge who recused himself from the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, newly released documents show.
Text messages provided to the House Oversight Committee by the Justice Department show Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page “discussed Strzok’s relationship with U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras,” investigative journalist Sara Carter reported on March 16.
Contreras had presided over a Dec. 1, 2017 hearing at which Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The judge, without explanation, was removed from the case on Dec. 7, 2017.
In a text discussing Contreras, Page wrote to Strzok: “I can’t imagine you either one of you could talk about anything in detail meaningful enough to warrant recusal.”
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.”
Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and Oversight Committee member, said what is “clear is that the back and forth exchange shows that Strzok and (Contreras) were friends. But we don’t know if the discussion regarding recusal has anything to do with Russia or if they were referring to another case. What we do know is that Contreras recused himself after the guilty plea but we still don’t know why?”
Committee member Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican, added that a “recusal for a judge is a very high bar.”
“I think from my standpoint we’re asking the Department of Justice and the FBI to give us the documents we need to do proper oversight. Failing to be able to provide Congress with those documents in an expeditious manner would certainly strengthen the case for a special prosecutor.”