According to “two sources familiar with the material that underlies the Memo published by the House Intelligence Committee on Friday” (and printed in the blog Offended America), the judge — Rudolph Contreras — who granted the warrant in the FISA Court to wiretap Carter Page, was removed from presiding over he case of Mike Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor.
While it is not uncommon for a judge to recuse himself from a case due to conflicts of some sort, it is very unusual for a judge to be recused from a case by his judicial supervisors.
The wording of the District Court’s announcement that Contraras “was recused” suggests that it was not his decision to remove him from control of the Flynn case.
Since the case against Mike Flynn may well rest, in part, on information gleaned from wiretaps authorized by FISA warrants, it is easy to understand why Contraras’ superiors might have made the decision to take him off the case.
But given how unusual it is for a judge to be removed from a case, rather than leave voluntarily, the public has a right to know why he was recused.
The court did not offer a reason and just said he was “randomly reassigned” to other cases.
That Contraras did not see the need to recuse himself is stunning.
He would, as Flynn’s judge, evaluate evidence he had authorized the FBI to collect when he approved the warrant.
Clearly, a conflict of interest.
We deserve to know why he was removed from the Flynn case and why he did not feel it necessary to recuse himself.
Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller has, in the meantime, moved to delay the Flynn sentencing, a development that may or may not be linked to Contraras’ removal.
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