The GOP is investigating ties between the FBI and Mother Jones – the left leaning news outlet that broke the story of a dossier that linked Russia and President Donald J. Trump.
House Republicans say documents link the FBI’s top lawyer, James Baker, and David Corn, a Mother Jones reporter. Their were reportedly in communication before the dossier story was made public, according to Politico, who cites two congressional GOP sources.
The GOP sources said the documents — made available recently to lawmakers by the Department of Justice — revealed that James Baker, the FBI’s general counsel, communicated with Mother Jones reporter David Corn in the weeks leading up to the November 2016 election.
Corn was the first to report the existence of the dossier on Oct. 31 and that it was compiled by a former high-level western spy.
Corn denied that Baker was a source for his story on the dossier.
“I’m not going to discuss my sources. But in order to prevent the dissemination of inaccurate information, I will say that James Baker was not my source for this story,” he said in a statement to POLITICO.
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that Baker was “being reassigned,” as FBI director Christopher A. Wray was seeking to select his own team of senior advisers amid “accusations of politicization within the bureau.”
According to Politico’s sources, the GOP does not know if Baker supplied information for Corn’s report, but the contact raises questions about whether FBI officials had anything to do with the much disputed Steele dossier, named for the former British intelligence agent, Christoper Steele, who was identified as the document’s author.
Baker was reassigned within days of questions being raised regarding his contact with the media at a House Intelligence Committee meeting. Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, was being grilled by the panel on Tuesday for their ongoing Russia collusion probe, and Baker was present as McCabe’s general counsel during the closed-door session.
Congressional Republicans reportedly wanted to know who was authorized to talk to the media, and one laid out a “hypothetical” example of the FBI’s general counsel meeting with a reporter – which McCabe said would be unauthorized, according to Politico’s source.
Baker reportedly did not return with McCabe on Thursday, when he testified before the Judiciary and Oversight Committees in their related inquiries.
The Steele Dossier was compiled for Fusion GPS, a firm hired by twice failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign to do opposition research on then-candidate Donald Trump. Republicans have questioned whether the FBI used the dossier to get surveillance warrants against officials with the Trump campaign, and how the document was given to the news media.
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