‘Given that there is an ongoing investigation of him for leaks, which the Department has not closed, I’m not comfortable letting him answer questions…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) As recently as last October, James Baker, the top lawyer for the FBI during the Obama era, was under criminal investigation for leaking information to the media, two House Freedom Caucus Republicans revealed Tuesday.
The disclosure from Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Mark Meadows, R-N.C., followed a weekend feeding frenzy over a New York Times report that the FBI had investigated President Donald Trump for being a Russian agent.
In an open letter to U.S. Attorney John Durham of the Connecticut office, the GOP congressmen requested the latest details on the Justice Department’s secretive probe into Baker.
It was not immediately clear from reports what the current status of Durham’s investigation was, nor why it was being led out of the Connecticut office.
“As we continue our oversight and investigative work, we felt it prudent to write to you seeking an update,” Jordan and Meadows wrote. “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.”
The two strongly hinted at their suspicions that Baker was the anonymous leaker used in the recent Times hit piece and had a long history of weaponizing media leaks for political purposes.
Former FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe investigated for leaking to the media.
Former FBI General Counsel Jim Baker subject of investigation, same reason.
These guys are part of the team that launched the Trump-Russia probe.https://t.co/nDpiIHVytX
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) January 15, 2019
Although Baker was known to have been under investigation in 2017, according to Politico, the revelation that there were still active criminal probes was news to Jordan and Meadows when Baker pleaded the Fifth during a closed-door deposition on the Russia probe to Congress last October.
“I’m sorry, I’m going to cut—not let him answer these questions right now,” Baker’s counsel, Daniel Levin, told the committee during the session. “You may or may not know, he’s been the subject of a leak investigation which is still—a criminal leak investigation that’s still active at the Justice Department. So I’m cutting [him] off.”
Meadows responded: “You’re saying he’s under criminal investigation? That’s why you’re not letting him answer?”
“Yes,” Levin answered. “I don’t want him talking about conversations he’s had with reporters because I don’t know what the questions are and I don’t know what the answer are right now. Given that there is an ongoing investigation of him for leaks, which the Department has not closed, I’m not comfortable letting him answer questions.”
Meadows and Jordan released the transcripts of the hearing—from when the GOP majority still set the agenda for Congressional oversight—without the permission of current House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
Less than two weeks into the new term, Jordan—the ranking GOP member on the committee—and Cummings already have clashed over the Democrat’s hypocritical approach to inviting witnesses to testify.
As one of his first acts, Cummings, who long resisted the idea of Republicans subpoenaing those involved with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, invited former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, recently convicted on several counts of fraud stemming from the investigation, to speak in a public hearing next month.
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.