Former FBI general counsel James Baker told Congress in 2018 about his interactions with a liberal reporter who was “anxious” to provide the bureau with a copy of the infamous and unverified Steele dossier.
“I don’t remember specifically the date of these conversations, but I know that David was anxious to get [the dossier] into the hands of FBI. And being the person at the FBI that he knew the best, he wanted to give it to me,” Baker told lawmakers Oct. 3, 2018, according to a testimony transcript released Tuesday.
Baker was speaking of David Corn, a reporter with Mother Jones who was one of a small handful of journalists to interview dossier author Christopher Steele prior to the 2016 election.
Baker, a longtime friend of Corn’s, said the reporter provided him with memos from the Steele dossier that the FBI did not previously have in its possession.
“My recollection is that he had part of the dossier, that we had other parts already, and that we got still other parts from other people, and that — and nevertheless some of the parts that David Corn gave us were parts that we did not have from another source,” said Baker, who left the FBI in May 2018.
Baker’s testimony seems to conflict with Corn’s claims about why and when Corn shared the dossier with the FBI.
Corn told The Hill in July 2018 he provided parts of Steele’s dossier to Baker after the 2016 election “in order to see if the bureau would authenticate the documents and now comment on them.”
“Once again, it would not,” said Corn, who also told The Hill he discussed Steele’s allegations with Baker prior to the election.
Baker’s testimony paints a picture of an eager reporter who wanted to share evidence with the FBI related to Donald Trump and his campaign. He also said he recalled that Corn provided him with Steele’s information prior to the election.
“So what I remember most clearly is that at some point in time David had part of what is now referred to as the Steele dossier and he talked to me about that and wanted to provide that to the FBI,” said Baker.
“And so, even though he was my friend, I was also an FBI official. He knew that.”
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