by WorldTribune Staff, April 15, 2019
At least 10 supporters of Hillary Clinton plied FBI higher ups with Trump-Russia conspiracy theories during the 2016 campaign, former FBI general counsel James Baker told a House judiciary oversight task force last year.
The Clinton supporters directly or via middlemen fed the accusations against Trump to the FBI, Baker said.
“I had a jaundiced eye about everything, yes,” Baker said. “I had skepticism about all this stuff. I was concerned about all of this. This whole situation was horrible, and it was novel and we were trying to figure out what to do, and it was highly unusual.”
A transcript of his closed-door testimony was released by Rep. Doug Collins, Georgia Republican.
“The transcripts create the picture of an FBI not always following expected norms as it activated an unofficial conveyor belt to make sure the allegations reached the counterintelligence division,” Rowan Scarborough noted in an April 14 report for The Washington Times.
The FBI opened an investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016. In October, it began wiretapping at least one Republican while dispatching possibly multiple undercover sources to spy.
Attorney General William Barr testified to Congress that he personally is reviewing how the FBI began the Trump investigation. He said that Obama officials spied on the Republican’s campaign and that he is trying to determine whether it was justified.
Baker testified that Clinton operatives tried to sell the same conspiracy theory to different levels at the Justice Department.
Baker said Michael Sussmann, a lawyer at the firm that represented the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, met with him to pitch the infamous Alfa Bank server story. The Democrats’ theory was that the Trump Organization maintained a direct computer server hookup to Moscow’s Alfa Bank, owned by oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In December 2016, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr met with Glenn Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS had hired anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele the previous June.
Some cybersleuths traced the server to a marketing firm, but Simpson told Ohr, “There was communication and it wasn’t spam.”
“The Sussmann and Simpson meetings showed the unusual access Clinton operatives enjoyed,” Scarborough noted. “They were selling the Alfa charge to the FBI’s top lawyer and to the Justice Department’s No. 4 official.”
Baker also testified about a working relationship with The New York Times. Sussmann had provided the NY Times with the Alfa Bank cyberdetective work. Baker said the counterintelligence division wanted the newspaper to put a hold on a story.
“So they give it to The New York Times, they give it to you, and does your bias alarm go off anywhere?” Rep. Mark Meadows asked Baker.
Baker responded: “I was concerned about the nature of this material from the first instance.”
In his House testimony, Ohr said he warned the FBI that the Fusion GPS data flow came from Clinton loyalists.
“So when I provided it to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information,” Ohr testified. “I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware. These guys were hired by somebody relating to – who’s related to the Clinton campaign, and be aware – you know, they were somehow working associated with the Clinton campaign.”
The FBI used the Steele dossier as the major piece of evidence to persuade judges to approve a year’s worth of wiretaps on Trump associate Carter Page.