Newly redacted text messages discovered by congressional investigators reveal that an embattled FBI agent at the center of the Russia investigation controversy was close friends with a District of Columbia judge who recused himself from the criminal case over former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, congressional members said, and text documents show.

The never before seen text messages, which were a part of the texts given to Congress by the Department of Justice, show that FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his paramour FBI attorney Lisa Page discussed Strzok’s relationship with U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras, who presided over a Dec. 1, 2017, hearing where former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Strzok was removed from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office last year after anti-Trump text messages between him and his FBI agent lover were discovered by the DOJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz. But on Dec. 7, without warning, Judge Rudolph Contreras was removed as the presiding judge on Flynn’s case. Little information was given at the time as to why Contreras was removed.

“We’re asking the department of justice and the FBI to give us the documents we need to do proper oversight…”

Mark Meadows (R-NC)

DOJ officials did not immediately respond for comment.

In a text message chain from Page to Strzok on July 25, 2016, she writes, “Rudy is on the FISC! Did you know that? Just appointed two months ago.” At that point, the pair continues to discuss other issues but comes back to Contreras, “I did. We talked about it before and after. I need to get together with him.” Then later Strzok appears to return to his discussion about Contreras.

Strzok/Page July texts

Strzok/Page July texts

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.” Page then goes back to discussing a different issue saying, “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.”

Investigators working with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mark Meadows, both with the House Oversight Committee, discovered the text messages during their ongoing investigation into the FBI’s handling of the alleged Trump-Russia collusion investigation, the Congressional members told this reporter. Under rules established by DOJ officials, congressional investigators could only review the less-redacted version of the pairs’ text messages at DOJ headquarters and only the highly redacted version of the texts was allowed to be removed during the ongoing process, they said. Of the 1.2 million documents collected by Horowitz’s team, the House Oversight Committee has only received 3,162 “unique documents,” they added.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)

“Why did Contreras recuse himself?” said Jordan. “Text messages show he had a relationship with Strzok… Why did the DOJ make it difficult for us to get the information? To me, those are the two fundamental questions. We don’t know that answers to either one of those ”

Jordan noted that the text messages provide some context but that some of the communications are not completely clear. He added 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?”

Meadows 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,” said Meadows. “Failing to be able to be able to provide Congress with those documents in an expeditious manner would certainly strengthen the case for a special prosecutor.”

The DOJ’s failure to be forthright with the information makes it extremely difficult for Congress to conduct oversight, he added.

“The only thing we would not have access to is grand jury material and some classified documents,” said Meadows. “There is no reason why we cannot get the same documents the Inspector General has.”

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36 Comments

  1. All things Mueller is doing if “fruit from the poisonous tree” Please ask Gregg if not true. This would make his investigation invalid. Thanks much

  2. It is absolutely shameful that the Sessions DOJ is doing everything they can to block Congress from providing effective oversight. Trump might as well have kept Loretta Lynch on if this is the best Sessions can do. Pathetic. Either start doing your job and start working with Congress or resign immediately.

  3. This is desperate and shows the rights fear of Mueller trsriteit all down .Keep writing articles like this. The only.one brjbe discredited is your own brand.

  4. a real reporter a real journalists have watched Sara forover a year her & John doing great work to get out facts & report them on Sean’s show

  5. Do you really expect these people not to know each other. Attorneys, investigators, and Judges all work for the same people and in the same courts, it would be dumb to assume they would not know each other. Does any of this invalidate the evidence against Flynn? If there was no evidence against him, do you believe he would have plead guilty? Deep State, c’mon, these agencies cannot elect officials for every position and switch them out for each administration. They would be useless at that point. These are career positions with people that deal with these issues regardless of who the elected officials are. The bottom line is that if Flynn had a proper defense against his actions he would have fought the case, A Judge having a friendship does not mean he is innocent. I guarantee that Flynn and his legal team knew of the this, but did not request another Judge hear his case because it made no difference in regards to his crimes. They let the Judge sit on his case so that they could use it at a later date to question the validity of his case, and make it easier for Trump to pardon him.

  6. Judge “recused” himself (or was taken off the case) after the Flynn guilty plea…you have to wonder if this judge pressured Flynn to plead guilty…

  7. No Way Jose. Peter Strzok and the FBI have reportedly stated Flynn didn’t lie! It’s a big puzzle. One theory is that he pled to one count because he was being financially buried. Five years ago I know some lawyers charged $1,000 an hour. Not sure what the going rate in DC is for top flight legal assistance.

    McCabe not fired? I thought today was the day?

  8. Cover for Action is a specific intelligence tradecraft term that describes creating an alternative reason for being in a denied location or performing a clandestine act. For instance, you might go into a red light district as if you were looking to hire a prostitute when the real reason for being there is to conduct a clandestine meeting with a source. If accosted by foreign security services, you would admit to the embarrassing but minor prostitution goal in order to deflect attention away from the true purpose of your actions. CFA is used/discussed when you are doing something you know you are not supposed to do under the assumption that you may be under some kind of surveillance.

  9. Sara, each day I watch for your post, plus seeing you on Hannity, knowing we are getting the truth. It’s sad most journalist care nothing for truth!
    Keep up the great work!

  10. I am wondering now if Flynn was on to Strzok and that is why he was not completely honest in this answers to him. Flynn had a lot of contacts and certainly Strzok’s unethical activities was being discussed in the intel world.

  11. His ”Paramour” wtf year do you think this is…first paragraph ..judge who recused himself. This is a bs story to get people worked up over nothing.

  12. Thank god for Andrew McCarthy and Sara Carter. How sad that instances of actual journalism can draw such pangs of gratitude…but there we are.

  13. You all get that at the very least people near the orange turd did some pretty shady stuff right? And Russia did interfere in the election? And we had 8 years of Benghazi hearings which were based on less than this? So start thinking for yourselves and stop reading this bs fake news site

  14. Thank you! You are one of the most thorough and legit journalists that I know of. We appreciate your honesty and hard work, keep it up!

  15. Reads as though Stozk is considering a cover for the illegal conversation with his friend, the FISC judge. Just saying.

    Sara, thank you so much! I live watching you on Hannity!

  16. In the first paragraph, the phrase is “recused himself.” In other words, Contreras took the action of removing himself as the judge overseeing Flynn’s case. That makes him sound ethical.

    In the second paragraph, the phrase is “was removed.” That is also how it was originally reported. In other words, some higher authority removed Contreras from overseeing Flynn’s case. That makes it sound like he was being unethical, and had to be forced off the job.

    Which was it?

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