WASHINGTON — Judge Rudolph Contreras was responsible for issuing the FISA Warrant to wiretap former Trump Campaign Foreign Policy Adviser Carter Page, according to two sources familiar with the material that underlies the Memo published by the House Intelligence Committee on Friday.
Contreras was appointed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) by Chief Justice John Roberts in the midst of the 2016 election, being sworn-in on May 19, 2016. He would go on to issue authorization to spy on Carter Page after receiving an application from the FBI, who purported to believe that Carter Page could be acting as an agent of the Russian Government. The FISA Court has received more than 34,000 applications to spy on Americans since its founding in 1978, turning down only 12 applications in that time, or just .0312%.
Judge Contreras has a long career with the Department of Justice, taking his first job as an Assistant US Attorney in 1994. His term on the FISA Court expires on May 18, 2023.
If Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)’s memo is to be believed, then it would seem that the FBI submitted a FISA Application to spy on Carter Page with serious material omissions, including the source of funding for the Steele Dossier and that Christopher Steele said that he was “Passionate about Donald Trump not becoming President”. Contreras may have acted perfectly ethically when he approved the FISA Warrant to electronically monitor and record Carter Page.
Judge Contreras also oversaw the case in which Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI. On December 7th Judge Contreras recused himself from the Michael Flynn Case. A spokeswoman for the the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia Lisa Klem did not say why Contreras was recused, adding that the case was randomly reassigned.
On Thursday the Mueller team successfully sought a rescheduling of the Flynn sentencing. “The parties shall file a joint status report by no later than May 1, 2018, stating whether the matter should be scheduled for sentencing or whether a deadline should be set for filing another joint status report,” said a related order signed by the new Judge, Emmet G. Sullivan.
Mueller’s Office of the Special Counsel cited the “Status of the investigation” for their request to reschedule General Flynn’s sentencing, but declined to provide further details.
Editor’s Note: The article was revised on Saturday February 3rd, 2018 to reflect that Contreras was appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts during the Obama Administration’s 2016 election meddling.