The case against former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn has taken a strange turn, as U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras abruptly recused himself Thursday night with no explanation.
Contreras is an Obama appointee who also sat on the FISA court while the Trump team was under surveillance by the Obama administration. Judge Emmet Sullivan, an Bill Clinton appointee, was randomly assigned to take over the case after Contreras’ recusal.
Of note, Contreras was appointed to the FISA court on May 19, 2016 – before the warrant to surveil one-time Trump advisor Carter Page was issued “in the summer” of 2016. It is unknown whether or not Contreras was involved in the decision, or whether he was involved in surveillance on Michael Flynn.
In fact every single FISA Court judge was appointed during the Obama administration.
Michael Flynn pleaded guilty last Friday to a false statement charge brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office in relation to the Trump-Russia investigation. The retired Army lieutenant general and director of the Defense Intelligence Agency was fired 24 days into his role as National Security Advisor for lying about his meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn also admitted to lying about his dealings with Turkey as a private lobbyist.
The case against Flynn, however, is not so straightforward. As Robert Parry pointed out last week:
“What is arguably most disturbing about this case is that then-National Security Adviser Flynn was pushed into a perjury trap by Obama administration holdovers at the Justice Department who concocted an unorthodox legal rationale for subjecting Flynn to an FBI interrogation four days after he took office, testing Flynn’s recollection of the conversations while the FBI agents had transcripts of the calls intercepted by the National Security Agency.
In other words, the Justice Department wasn’t seeking information about what Flynn said to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the intelligence agencies already had that information. Instead, Flynn was being quizzed on his precise recollection of the conversations and nailed for lying when his recollections deviated from the transcripts.”
Parry continues; “Then, just four days into the Trump presidency, an Obama holdover, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates, primed the Flynn perjury trap by coming up with a novel legal theory that Flynn although the national security adviser-designate at the time of his late December phone calls with Kislyak was violating the 1799 Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from interfering with U.S. foreign policy.”
The Logan Act, however, was never intended to apply to incoming officials in the transition period – and in the past 218 years, has resulted in no successful prosecution.
Yates then performed mental gymnastics based on her Logan Act theory to assert that Flynn’s deviation from the transcript of the intercepts meant he might be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
This, as Parry points out, would require that the Russians first would have detected the discrepancies; secondly, they would have naively assumed that the U.S. intelligence agencies had not intercepted the conversations, which would have negated any blackmail potential; and thirdly, the Russians would have to do something so ridiculously heavy-handed trying to blackmail Flynn that it would poison relations with the new Trump administration.
In other words, Michael Flynn was surveilled under a FISA warrant, then set up to fail by Sally Yates when he deviated from the transcripts of his intercepted conversations. And the judge overseeing his case, who is on the FISA court, has suddenly recused himself.
Last but not least, journalist Sara Carter revealed on Hannity.com that the anti-Trump agent fired from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, Peter Strzok, was one of two FBI agents who interviewed Flynn on January 24 at the White House, according to a former intelligence official with knowledge of the interview.
“With the recent revelation that Strzok was removed from the Special Counsel investigation for making anti-Trump text messages it seems likely that the accuracy and veracity of the 302 of Flynn’s interview as a whole should be reviewed and called into question, said Carter’s source, who added “he most logical thing to happen would be to call the other FBI Special Agent present during Flynn’s interview before the Grand Jury to recount his version.”
Furthermore, Sara Carter reports that Flynn was tricked into a formal investigation after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the retired three-star general “some agents were heading over (to the White House),” which Flynn thought was related to routine work the FBI had been doing – only to realize they were sent there for him.
It wasn’t until after they were already in (Flynn’s) office that he realized he was being formerly interviewed. He didn’t have an attorney with him.
Between the recused judge who sits on the FISA court, Sally Yates’ transcript ‘trap,’ and the fact that the FBI reportedly interviewed Flynn without an attorney present, it will be interesting to see how the case against Michael Flynn holds up.