House Republicans revealed in a letter Tuesday that former top FBI lawyer James Baker is under criminal investigation for alleged unauthorized leaks to the media.
According to Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Republican Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Mark Meadows (North Carolina) cited a transcript of a congressional interview with Baker, a former bureau general counsel, and his attorney last fall.
Herridge said that the investigation was conducted by “seasoned U.S. Attorney John Durham.”
“You may or may not know, [Baker has] been the subject of a leak investigation … a criminal leak investigation that’s still active at the Justice Department,” attorney Daniel Levin told lawmakers during questioning as resisted questions regarding his client’s conversations with reporters.
Jordan and Meadows sent their letter to Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, requesting further information regarding his investigation be provided them later this month.
“As we continue our oversight and investigative work, we felt it prudent to write to you seeking an update. Without being apprised of the contours of your leak investigation and Baker’s role, we run the risk of inadvertently interfering with your prosecutorial plans,” they wrote.
Herridge noted further:
The transcript of the closed-door interview and the letter do not include details explaining why the investigation is being led out of the Connecticut office. The status of the investigation is not publicly known.
But the disclosure marks the latest confirmation of a leak investigation involving FBI figures who have since left the bureau.
Last year, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe saw his leak case referred to the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. McCabe was fired for lying to federal investigators about his role in a media leak regarding the Clinton Foundation on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.
Baker subject of media leak… by on Scribd
Herridge noted that the Republicans’ letter also included additional concerns that came about as part of their probe when the GOP controlled the House.
“The Committees learned that in some instances, high-ranking DOJ and FBI officials, including the FBI General Counsel James Baker and DOJ Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, took the self-described ‘unusual’ step of inserting themselves into the evidentiary chain of custody,” it said.
Previously it has been revealed that Ohr became the backchannel to former British spy Christopher Steele, author of the infamous “Russia dossier,” after the bureau fired him for leaking to the media.
Author Ted Malloch, writing at The Gateway Pundit, noted that the news site Circa reported in 2017 that Baker had come under a Justice Department probe for allegedly leaking classified national security information regarding the Trump administration to media sources.
“And now this duplicitous leak to the NY Times,” Malloch wrote. “Trump as a secret Russian agent. This is ‘disgusting’ as the President himself noted and extremely insulting.
“Baker has dirty hands and indeed appears to be a key figure in the RED NOVEMBER narrative and plot to destroy the President,” he added.
In October, we reported that Baker had given “explosive” testimony to a House committee regarding the bureau’s “abnormal” handling of the ‘Trump-Russia’ investigation.
James Baker gave House investigators “explosive” closed-door testimony Wednesday in which he detailed to congressional investigators how the Russia probe was done in an “abnormal fashion” that reflected “political bias,” two GOP lawmakers present for the deposition told Fox News.
“Some of the things that were shared were explosive in nature,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told the network. “This witness confirmed that things were done in an abnormal fashion. That’s extremely troubling.”
Baker had a close working relationship with James Comey, who appointed him as the FBI’s top lawyer.
Lawmakers could not provide specifics regarding Baker’s testimony, but they said he was cooperative and forthright regarding how the Russia case began in 2016 and how the FISA court surveillance warrant for Carter Page, a Trump campaign aide, was approved in October 2016.
“During the time that the FBI was putting — that DOJ and FBI were putting together the FISA (surveillance warrant) during the time prior to the election — there was another source giving information directly to the FBI, which we found the source to be pretty explosive,” Jordan told Fox News.
They did not identify that source but said he/she was not previously known to congressional investigators.
Jordan did say Baker’s interview was the best one yet in terms of confirming suspicions about how the Russia investigation started and why it was carried out. Meadows agreed.
Fox News reported in October:
Baker is at the heart of surveillance abuse allegations, and his deposition lays the groundwork for next week’s planned closed-door interview with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Baker, as the FBI’s top lawyer, helped secure the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on Page, as well as three subsequent renewals. Prior to the deposition, Republican investigators said they believed Baker could explain why information about the British ex-spy behind a salacious Trump-related dossier, Christopher Steele, and Steele’s apparent bias against then-candidate Trump, were withheld from the FISA court, and whether other exculpatory information was known to Rosenstein when he signed the final FISA renewal for Page in June 2017. — Jon Dougherty
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