Top FBI Lawyer Testified Rosenstein Discussed Removing Trump From Office

Top FBI Lawyer Testified Rosenstein Discussed Removing Trump From Office

James Baker, the former top lawyer of the FBI, testified to members of Congress last fall that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and other FBI officials discussed wearing a wire in meetings with President Trump and removing him from office, according to a transcript of Baker’s testimony released on Tuesday.

In a joint committee on October 3, 2018, Baker was questioned in a closed-door interview on his knowledge of the Christopher Steele dossier, classified information leaked to the media, and invoking the 25th Amendment against President Trump.

Baker’s testimony confirmed what former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe previously said about national security officials strategizing to remove President Trump from office. Baker said Rosenstein made a serious suggestion to wear a wire when near the president in order to collect evidence that the president obstructed the investigation on Russian collusion. Baker also said he suspected Rosenstein was acting in response to the firing of James Comey, and that he felt he had been “used” by the president in his justification for firing Comey.

Baker said he was told that at the time “there were two members of the Cabinet who were willing to go down this road already,” regarding conversations about invoking the 25th Amendment.

Baker testified that he met with a lawyer for Perkins Coie, the law firm hired by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to do opposition research on Donald Trump, named Michael Sussmann. He said Sussmann did not provide him information about the dossier, but about other information related to the Trump-Russia investigation that Sussmann believed the FBI should have. Baker said he passed Sussmann’s information on to other FBI officials.

Perkins Coie was the law firm responsible for funneling money to Fusian GPS, who hired British spy Christopher Steele. When asked if he verified that the source of this information from Sussman was being funded by Clinton and the DNC before turning it over to the FBI, Baker said “it did not seem inappropriate” to him.

When asked about his relationship with his “long-time friend” and journalist David Corn, chief of the Washington bureau for the far-left outlet Mother Jones, Baker said Corn gave him a “significant portion of the dossier” which he in turn gave to Bill Priestap, the head of FBI Counterintelligence.

“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. And so, even though he was my friend, I was also an FBI official. He knew that. And so he wanted to somehow get that into the hands of the FBI…” Baker said. “I don’t remember specifically the date of these conversations, but I know that David was anxious to get this into the hands of FBI.”

Baker said he didn’t remember if Corn told him where he got the dossier from, but that he assumed it came from Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson.

“Sitting here today, I don’t remember him telling me that, where he got it,” he said. “My understanding at the time was that Simpson was going around Washington giving this out to a lot of different people and trying to elevate its profile.”

Lastly, Baker said when the application for a FISA warrant against Carter Page came across his desk for approval, he did not read the supporting evidence used for the application.

“I have participated in one way or another in the review of 10,000 FISA applications, and I don’t think I ever read the Woods file contemporaneously with reading the application,” Baker explained.

When pressed by Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan on this point, and whether Baker knew the dossier was funded by the DNC before or after the FISA application was taken to court, Baker said he couldn’t remember:

I know that I didn’t know all the facts with respect to the providence of this thing at the time of the FISA application…

There were other things in that application that to me were alarming, as well. I am not going to sit here and say that there wouldn’t have been probable cause or that there would have been probable cause without the dossier. I would have to go back and look at it again, but there were other activities of Mr. Page that were alarming to me that I thought certainly merited an investigation.

Rep. Doug Collins, who released the transcript on Tuesday, said he “will continue to work to release as many transcripts as possible, including the entirety of Mr. Baker’s interview with the Judiciary Committee. The American people deserve the truth.”

Read the full transcript here.

Madeline is a staff editor at the Federalist and the producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Follow her on Twitter.
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