Former top FBI lawyer James Baker revealed this week that he and other top officials were “quite worried” that former FBI Director James Comey appeared to be trying to blackmail then President-elect Trump during a 2017 meeting regarding obscene allegations found in the discredited Steele dossier.
On the latest episode of the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” Baker said he and others were so concerned about James Comey briefing President-elect Trump on January 6, of 2017 on Russia’s interference in the election as well as the controversial dossier that “analogies” were made to J. Edgar Hoover, the former FBI director who abused his power to blackmail individuals.
“We were quite worried about the Hoover analogies, and we were determined not to have such a disaster happen on our watch,” Baker said, hoping to convey to the incoming president that they did not want to continue the “legacy” of J. Edgar Hoover’s blackmailing.
Baker did not recall the moment he first heard about the Steele dossier but remembered the FBI taking it “seriously” and said that they were “obligated to deal with it” and determine whether or not anything about the contents was true, but insisted they didn’t accept it “as gospel.” He did, however, believe Trump had to be briefed on the dossier because it was “about to be disclosed to the press.”
The former top FBI lawyer went on to explain why he clashed with James Comey over whether to tell then President-elect Trump that he wasn’t the subject of the Russia investigation.
Baker said he argued that Trump’s activities “fell into the category” of being a subject and he didn’t think it was “accurate” to say otherwise. By contrast, Comey repeatedly told president Trump that he was not under investigation before his dismissal in May 2017.
Nonetheless, Baker said he supports any investigation that is looking into the origins of the Russia probe.
“I welcome scrutiny,” Baker said. “I plan to fully cooperate with the department to help them figure out what happened. Because I believe what happened was lawful, at least based on every piece of information that I have.”
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