A prominent Twitter lawyer who backed censoring the bomb story about incriminating content on Hunter Biden’s discarded laptop in the weeks leading up to the presidential election also helped launch the FBI investigation over now debunked allegations that President Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.
James Baker, who served as assistant general counsel and vice president of Twitter from June 2020, spent four years prior as the FBI’s top lawyer. It was in this position in 2016 that he connected his friend, lawyer and Democratic agent Michael Sussmann, with top FBI investigators and Mr. Sussmann passed on allegations that the then-presidential candidate , Donald Trump, was in contact with a Russian bank.
In both cases, critics say, Mr. Trump was politically harmed by the misinformation.
“Baker was the epicenter of two election interference scandals – the FBI election interference against Trump and the Twitter election interference against Trump, again,” said Tom Fitton, chairman of the watchdog group. curator Judicial Watch.
Mr. Baker, who is also a former CNN analyst who has commented on Mr. Trump and defended the Trump-Russia investigation, did not immediately respond to an interview request left with Harvard Law School, where he is a lecturer. guest.
Mr Baker, whose departure from Twitter has never been publicly announced, is described as a ‘former’ employee of the social media giant in a stunning Twitter thread last week hosted by new owner Elon Musk and published by the journalist. independent Matt Taibbi.
SEE ALSO: White House denounces Musk’s ‘Twitter Files’ on Hunter Biden as a distraction from hate speech on the platform
Mr. Taibbi published internal emails provided to him by Mr. Musk that showed Twitter executives debating whether to block the New York Post story on October 14, 2021, about the laptop scrapped by Hunter Biden. The Post’s report described the trove of damning information in the laptop, including allegations of an influence peddling scheme involving Joe Biden, who was then the Democratic presidential nominee.
Twitter staff blocked the story, calling it “dangerous” and blocked users from sharing links to the story via direct message. Twitter also temporarily suspended the account of the New York Post, one of the world’s most popular news sites, in response to the newspaper’s initial tweet about the laptop story.
The decision to censor the story came two weeks before the presidential election, and Twitter executives were responding to inquiries from Biden’s campaign team, who reached out to them through secondary channels.
Twitter executives acted after consulting with their legal team, including Mr Baker, who came to the social media giant after his stint as FBI general counsel from 2014 to 2018.
In an undated email exchange with Twitter executives, Mr Baker backed the decision to censor Hunter Biden’s laptop story.
“I support the conclusion that we need more facts to assess whether the material was hacked,” Baker wrote. “At this stage, however, it is reasonable for us to assume that they may have been, and caution is warranted.”
SEE ALSO: US Intelligence Warns Twitter of ‘Hack and Leak Operation’ Ahead of Hunter Biden’s Laptop Drop
Mr Baker, in the email, said Twitter needed more information to determine whether to publish the story, adding that “there are facts indicating that materials may have been hacked”.
The bomb story was blocked from appearing on Twitter and other social media platforms, including Facebook, even though the FBI at the time was in possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop and launched an investigation. investigation into his allegations of tax offences.
Mr. Baker’s involvement in the Twitter censorship decision follows his role as a key facilitator of the much-criticized FBI investigation into whether Mr. Trump was coordinating with Russian officials ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
This investigation escalated in the fall of 2016 after Mr. Baker provided a critical link between FBI investigators and Mr. Sussmann, who was peddling damning information now debunked in order to create an “October surprise” against Mr. Trump on behalf of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Sussmann was acquitted in May of charges of lying to the FBI by hiding his political motives for providing Russian banking information to the government. But the years-long FBI investigation hampered Mr. Trump’s entire tenure and even led to claims that he was a Russian agent.
Mr. Baker is also linked, at least indirectly, to Elvis Chan, an FBI special agent and cybersecurity expert who played a role in suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story.
A month before the 2020 election, Mr Chan held weekly meetings with Twitter and other Big Tech companies, including Facebook, to warn them of a ‘hack and leak’ operation, according to his testimony in a lawsuit brought by Republican officials in Louisiana and Missouri.
According to former Twitter site integrity manager Yoel Roth, the FBI warnings specified that the leaked hacked material would implicate Hunter Biden.
Four years earlier, Mr. Chan worked with Mr. Sussmann and other Justice Department officials to create a narrative, never proven, that the sensitive emails leaked by senior DNC officials were the result of a Kremlin-based hacking operation, according to the American Greatness website. .
Jake Denton, associate fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Tech Policy Center, said Mr. Baker’s involvement in the Trump-Russia investigation and Twitter censorship scandal suggests a partisan motive.
“The Russia-gate investigation really showed that the FBI is a political actor,” Denton said. “When one of these top lawyers goes to Silicon Valley, he really seems to be doing the FBI’s bidding.”
Mr. Baker’s employment status at Twitter is unclear. Mr Taibbi described him as a ‘former’ assistant lawyer in his Twitter feed, but he was not mentioned when Mr Musk sacked chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde in October, and he does not note his departure on his twitter account. In an April tweet, Mr Musk said Mr Baker’s connection to the FBI Russia collusion investigation and Mr Sussmann “seems pretty bad”.
Mr Musk, meanwhile, has pledged to post more emails from Twitter executives about the removal of conservative content on the platform. House Republicans, who are weeks away from regaining a majority, have promised to launch an investigation.
House GOP lawmakers on the Oversight Committee contacted Twitter months ago and ordered the company to retain all documents and communications with the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee in relation to the laptop story. censorship.
“Republicans on the Oversight Committee have a message to all Twitter employees tasked with censoring New York Post reporting on Biden family influence peddling: We’ll see you at the next Congress,” the rep said. James Comer, Republican of Kentucky who will chair the committee. The Washington Times. “I will soon be sending out invitations to Twitter employees Vijaya Gadde, Yoel Roth, and James Baker to appear before the House Oversight Committee in a public hearing at the upcoming Congress. Americans deserve answers about Twitter’s attack on the prime amendment.