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Judicial Watch • Baker-Transcript Oct 3

Baker-Transcript Oct 3

Baker-Transcript Oct 3

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Wednesday, October 2018
Washington, D.C.
The interview the above matter was held Room 2141, Rayburn
House Office Building, commencing 10:02 a.m.
Representatives Meadows, Jordan, and Raskin.
Mr. Somers.
Jim Baker.
Good morning.
This transcribed interview
Chairman Goodlatte and Chairman Gowdy requested this
interview part joint investigation the House Committee
the Judiciary and the House Committee Oversight and Government
Reform into decisions made and not made the Department Justice
and the Federal Bureau Investigation regarding the 2016 Presidential
Would the witness please state his name and last position held the Federal Bureau Investigation for the record?
Mr. Baker. name James Baker.
The last position held the Bureau was senior strategic adviser.
Mr. Somers. behalf the chairman, want thank you for
appearing today, and appreciate your willingness appear
voluntarily. name Zachary Somers, and the majority general counsel for
the Judiciary Committee. will now ask everyone else the room
introduce themselves for the record, starting right with Art
Mr. Arthur Baker.
Arthur Baker, investigative counsel, House
Judiciary Committee, majority staff.
Mr. Breitenbach.
Ryan Breitenbach, senior counsel, House
Judiciary, majority staff.
Mr. Castor.
Steve Castor with the Committee Government
Reform, majority staff.
Mr. Meadows.
And Congressman Mark Meadows.
Ms. Hariharan.
Arya Hariharan, counsel, Judiciary, minority.
Ms. Kim.
Janet Kim, Oversight, the minority.
Ms. Shen.
Valerie Shen, Oversight, minority.
Mr. Hiller.
Aaron Hiller, counsel for House Judiciary,
Ms. Sachsman Grooms.
Susanne Sachsman Grooms, Oversight,
Minority Chief Counsel.
Mr. FBI, Congressional Affairs.
Mr. Buddharaju.
Anudeep Buddharaju, House Oversight,
Mr. Gowdys staff.
Mr. Ventura.
Christopher Ventura, law clerk, House Judiciary,
Ms. Doocy.
Mary Doocy, legislative counsel, Mr. Meadows
Ms. Office General Counsel, Federal Bureau Investigation.
Mr. Office General Counsel, FBI.
Mr. Levin.
Mr. Somers. FBI OGC.
Dan Levin, counsel for Mr. Baker.
The Federal Rules Civil Procedure not apply this setting, but there are some guidelines that follow that
like follow over.
Our questioning will proceed rounds.
The majority will ask
questions for hour, and then the minority will have the opportunity ask questions for equal period time.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE will back and forth
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE this manner until there are more questions and the interview
Typically, take short break the end each hour
But you would like take break apart from that,
please let know. also may take break for lunch the
appropriate point time. noted earlier, you are appearing today voluntarily.
Accordingly, anticipate that our questions will receive complete
responses. the extent that you decline answer our questions counsel instructs you not answer, will consider whether
subpoena necessary. you can see, there official reporter taking down
everything that said make written record, request that
you give verbal responses all questions.
Mr. Baker. you understand that?
Mr. Somers. that the report can take down clear record, important that dont talk over one another interrupt each other can help it.
Both committees encourage witnesses who appear for transcribed
interviews freely consult with counsel they choose, and you
are appearing today with counsel.
Would counsel you please state your name and current position for
the record?
Mr. Levin.
Mr. Somers.
Dan Levin White Case. want you answer our questions the most
complete and truthful manner possible, will take our time.
you have any questions not understand one our questions,
please let know. you honestly dont know the answer question not
remember it, best not guess.
Please give your best
recollection, and okay tell you learned the information
from someone else. there are things you dont know cant remember, just say and please inform who, the best your knowledge, might
able provide more complete answer the question.
Mr. Baker, you should also understand that although this
interview not under oath, you are required law answer the
questions from Congress truthfully.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Somers. you understand that?
This also applies questions posed
congressional staff interview.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Somers. you understand this?
Witnesses who knowingly provide false testimony
could subject criminal prosecution for perjury for making false
statement. you understand this?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Somers.
Yes. there any reason you are unable provide
truthful answers todays questions?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Somers.
Finally, like note that, Chairman
Goodlatte stated the outset our first transcribed interview
this investigation, the content what discuss here today
Chairman Goodlatte and Chairman Gowdy ask that you not
speak about what discuss this interview anyone not present
here today preserve the integrity our investigation.
confidentiality rule applies everyone present the room today.
That the end preamble. you have any questions before begin?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Levin. just have one comment.
Jim here voluntarily.
stop about oclock. apologize that schedule has hard
And understand you may not done then.
And will come back another day that necessary.
But just
apologize that schedule would not allow it.
Mr. Somers.
Well see where are oclock and decide then. will now turn over Art Baker begin our first round
questioning. about 10:08.
Again, thank both you for coming today.
Mr. Baker, when went around and did our opening introductions
you mentioned your last position the FBI was senior strategic
How long did you occupy that position?
From early January 2018 until, think, the first week
May 2018?
And the first week May 2018, that contemporaneous
around the time that you resigned from the FBI?
Prior you assuming the duties senior strategic adviser,
what was your position the FBI?
General counsel.
And how long did you occupy that position?
From January 2014 until January 2018.
What exactly does the general counsel the FBI do?
Its understanding that you that capacity would the chief legal
officer for the FBI. that correct?
Thats fair way say it, yes.
And also the head the
Office General Counsel?
And head Office General Counsel, you supervise
cadre lawyers and support staff?
About 300 people altogether.
About 200 lawyers and 100
other professionals.
And the general counsels office responsible for
providing legal advice the rest the FBI? the entire FBI all the matters that the FBI works
on, coordination with the chief division counsel who are FBI lawyers
deployed the various field offices around the country.
around 130 those deployed all field offices.
Okay. those chief division counsels that are deployed the field offices, they would the general counsels office
representatives for that particular field office?
Sort of. mean, they didnt report directly me, they
reported the head the field office, the SAC, for example, but
there was sort dotted line the Office General Counsel? theres coordination and consultation between these chief
division counsels the field office and FBI headquarters?
For the headquarters entity, its understanding
that the Office the General Counsel has lawyers, representatives
embedded the various divisions headquarters.
For many them, yeah. that correct? dont think its every one, but,
yes, for many them. would fair say that the general counsels office
has fairly active role most the FBI activities?
They seem youve indicated theyre out the field offices, many the
divisions have them embedded. sounds like the general counsels
office has pretty broad representation representatives, pretty
wide and far the Bureau. that true? think thats right, yeah. mean, cant everywhere
all the time, and would like have more resources than have.
But try make sure that are providing legal services the
entire Bureau needed, coordination with each other and then
coordination with the Justice Department well.
And these lawyers that are embedded the various divisions,
they are the lawyer for that division and the division are the clients
for that lawyer?
Sort of. mean, the end the day the Bureau, the FBI, the client, the United States Government the client.
But those
are the agency those are the subcomponents the FBI that they
are trying help achieve their mission. under this structure, you indicated, the field the
chief division counsels are answering the SAC, but there
coordination and consultation with general counsels office
These embedded attorneys headquarters and the units
and divisions sections that are the general counsels office,
they all ultimately answer you the general counsel?
The OGC people do, yes, not the chief division counsel, but
They are answering the field office entity?
But the basis their legal decisions, assuming, are
bounced off the attorneys that are back headquarters and AUSAs
that are the field?
Not always, but its best doesnt always happen, but
its best they are coordinated with the appropriate folks OGC
and, when necessary, the U.S. Attorneys Office Main Justice.
Very briefly, could you describe how the general counsels
office broken down? assume theres broad divisions.
Could you
just elaborate how its very generally divided up?
Theres basically three branches, each headed
deputy general counsel.
One handles national security and cyber
matters, one handles litigation, and then one handles basically
everything else, forensic science, privacy and civil liberties,
training, whole range different things. three main branches OGC.
And then these deputy general counsels, assuming, are
people you would interact with probably more frequently than, say,
line attorney unit chief something that nature?
Thats true.
Somewhere your org chart guessing you have
some sort maybe not the org chart, but guessing, component the Department Justice, the FBIs general counsel somehow
interfacing with the Department Justice lawyers matters, too?
Yes, sure.
Yes, absolutely. you indicated the National Security Law Branch, think
you called it, cyber.
Are you familiar with investigation that
the FBI called Midyear Exam?
Would that the division where Midyear Exam was assigned? was assigned the National Security and Cyber Law
Who would the deputy general counsel for that branch
have been? think for the whole time was Trisha Anderson? you and Ms. Anderson would have had fairly frequent
contact discussions about the case?
Yes, would say fairly frequent. guess back little bit, what would the general
counsels role be? mean, can specifically say for Midyear Exam.
What does the general counsel bring the table and what part investigation the general counsel brought in, and specifically
for Midyear Exam? dont specifically remember how started terms
the OGCs involvement it, but think were involved pretty much
from the start, providing advice and counsel the FBI agents, managers
working the case. they are doing the investigation and are working with them provide them advice make sure that they are following FBI policies
and procedures, DOJ policies and procedures, that they are helping with
any interactions that need happen with the Department Justice. theres legal question and DOJ asking that and our agents
arent lawyers and need help analyzing the legal framework, the legal
questions connection with DOJ, will help them with that.
Who DOJ would you have interfaced with national
security matter, specifically Midyear Exam, case thats opened under classification that puts into that Law Branch? there were number different people. can remember all them off the top head. note sure
But was
essentially assigned the National Security Division Main Justice
and then couple folks from the U.S. Attorneys Office eventually
Eastern District Virginia.
Who were the names the folks Main Justice? think John Carlin was the head the National Security
Division the time. think George Toscas worked it.
Laufman, who was the head the espionage section.
And drawing blank right now the line attorneys, but there
were line attorneys also within the espionage section who were working it.
And then there were from time time folks the deputy attorney
generals office that worked it.
Matt Axelrod worked bit. thats what remembering off the top head.
Mr. Breitenbach.
Did Tashina Gauhar ever work it, your knowledge?
Given her position the DAGs office, she may have, but dont remember specific
You dont remember interacting with her?
Not very much. know Tosh very well, but dont remember
interacting with her very much Midyear?
But some you had interacted with her
Just sitting here right now, cant remember. MR. ARTHUR BAKER: understand prior your appointment general counsel
you were the private sector counsel.
worked Main Justice before, correct?
Prior that, you have
And what was your role there?
Immediately prior that, from 2009 2011, was the
deputy attorney generals office. was associate deputy attorney
And then, from 1990 until 2007, worked Main Justice, first the Criminal Division, and then something called the Office
Intelligence Policy and Review, and then eventually the National
Security Division.
And what did you this OIPR office?
function there?
What was your
And what did that office do? started out line attorney and moved and eventually
became the head the office.
And among things the well, the office
provides advice the Attorney General and other executive branch
officials national security law, intelligence law.
But lot what the work and was representing the United
States front the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. was responsible for that from, well, guess you would say, probably
from 1998 until 2007.
And that Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court what
commonly referred FISA?
And then this OIPR office morphed into became the National
Security Division? was merged into the National Security Division.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE would fair say, prior your appointment
general counsel the FBI, you have significant experience and
background national security law?
And you are well versed FISA?
Competent the espionage statutes? some degree, less than the folks the espionage
section, but have dealt with the espionage statutes variety
different ways over the years.
Would that your main area expertise coming the FBI? mean, sounds like you are pretty well experienced national
security law?
National security law, would say generally, yeah.
Probably more FISA than the espionage statutes for sure, you are
going break down that way.
But national security general,
Going back Midyear Exam, did you have any input the
classification that case when was opened?
For example, rather
than having open under classification that would put the
national security lane, was there any discussion, debate, dissent about
why should possibly classified criminal matter and maybe
end different part the FBI for investigating?
that. dont remember significant debate discussion about dont think played any role that can recall sitting here
today terms the classification it.
And guess the only other thing would say was the fact that was the national security lane didnt mean that the FBI couldnt
use all its national security and law enforcement authorities
address it. based the facts the case you initially understood
them, you were comfortable with the espionage statutes, whatever
related handling classified information, you were comfortable that was opened appropriately and that the national security apparatus the FBI were where the resources should investigate it?
Yes, would say.
The resources and the looking back now, would say thats the case.
And its not only the resources, its the expertise dealing
with classified information, how handle it, how think about it,
how understand how other people should handle and able ask
good questions about that, that kind thing.
And youve indicated that OGC would providing legal
guidance the folks that would maybe investigators, analysts,
computer experts, whatever.
Your national security branch would
providing legal guidance them they did whatever, decided what interview, what take out the computer, what look at, OGC
would the one giving legal advice that?
Yes, coordination, needed, with the U.S. Attorneys
Office other folks within the Bureau. there was particular
question some other lawyer needed answer, could get help from
But, yes, was mainly the national security branch.
And there was mainly the counterespionage unit, the counterespionage law unit.
And then some interaction with DOJ, assume?
Much lot interaction with DOJ.
Backing just minute, when you were appointed the
general counsels office, you were appointed then-Director Comey?
You had known Mr. Comey previously?
And how did you know Mr. Comey? had been boss twice before.
When was the head
the Office Intelligence Policy and Review, that was component head. therefore reported directly the deputy attorney general. when Director Comey came take that position was
boss for how cant remember how long was there, but for year years, whatever was. was boss there.
And then when was Bridgewater Associates Connecticut,
hedge fund Connecticut, was boss there. was the general
counsel and worked for him.
You have professional relationship with him, obviously. you have social relationship with him well?
Hes former boss, hes colleague, hes friend,
would say, yeah. what would your relationship have been when hes
the Director, again your boss, and youre really his chief lawyer, how
willing was accept candid legal advice from you? demanded it.
Demanded it.
What was your thought about giving him legal advice?
Would client that would take your legal advice and act it?
Would client that would listen but something completely different? just curious what your perspective the relationship was the
Well, the relationship was based complete candor with each
other and telling each other the truth.
And disagreed with him thought was doing something wrong bad stupid, was
obligation tell him that. had.
And thats the kind relationship that
And disagreed with and thought was doing bad job, would tell that, too.
And that was across all the range our
interactions, not just the law arguing about legal matters.
And, you know, hes excellent lawyer, its kind
challenging sometimes have excellent lawyer your client.
But was across the range everything having with Bureau,
the leadership, strategic initiatives the Bureau. had that
type relationship across the full range the Bureaus activities.
And felt free speak mind about any topic that thought had say something about. sounds like, would fair say, that you had
good attorney-client relationship with Mr. Comey?
When appointed you, addition the obvious requests charges that you run good general counsels office, that you
provide good, candid advice for all the FBI, were you given any charge anything specifically with the general counsels office
improve morale anything like that?
There was issue when arrived with respect
morale and told absolutely focus that.
Could you elaborate what the issue with morale was?
There was issue morale with respect some people had
concerns about the prior general counsel how ran the office
and that had impact morale.
And was asked try
understand exactly what the problem was and address it.
Who was the previous general counsel?
Andrew Weissman. was there any empirical data shown you that reflected
however you could map poor morale?
There were.
Yes, the FBI does annual climate survey, and had that, and think may have had some other surveys that were
provided well. had some quantitative basis try
understand what the issue was and discuss that with folks the office the time.
And what steps did you embark improve that morale? tried understand what the issues were. tried there was some concern about coming OGC because had been
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE DOJ, And tried address concerns that folks that regard.
But then really just tried understand what the problems were,
understand the organizational structure, understand what the work was,
not rush into decisions with respect the organization, but really
get know well possible.
And then after that, cant remember exactly when was,
maybe like year later did complete reorganization the
office that think made sense the time.
And then was just day day trying make sure that treated folks its amazing group people OGC and very proud them and very proud have been associated with them try
treat them well and make sure include inclusive leader who
showed that valued them.
How successful you think you were?
Youve got ask them. dont know about that one.
can look climate survey and see what the result was? you know what your climate survey was? got better over the years.
got better over the years. was never perfect, but
And dont know what was after left.
Better compared when came in? think so, yeah. MR. BREITENBACH:
Can you elaborate some the concerns that you had heard
when first arriving the Bureau general counsel that had been
experienced under the prior general counsel, Mr. Weissman?
Lets see. think the concerns were that mean, the
assessment was Andrew excellent lawyer, but had not had lot management experience running organization that size.
300 people, its big organization.
And tried having the
management experience that had, tried focus that side
things. think people had concerns about Andrews interpersonal skills, guess you would say.
Some people objected how treated people.
And they expressed concerns about that.
Was any that treatment ever involving any level
political politically tinged any way?
Not that recall. dont specifically recall anything
like that. terms treatment, can you elaborate?
Just dealing with people interpersonal basis.
Andrew thought, understood and was not present for the
conversations that Andrew had with folks, just put that caveat what saying but just terms could abrupt, guess
you would say, could brash, and sometimes people thought that was dismissive them, things like that.
And terms conversations that you had with Director
Comey concerning the environment that you were coming into, was this
something that was directive from the Director order instill
some more confidence the general counsels office with regard
the morale following General Counsel Weissmans tenure?
Well, yeah. mean, Director Comey cares deeply about the
people the FBI, did and still does, and wanted address this.
This was significant issue. had come the climate surveys. heard lot about when got there and specifically told me, yes,
deal with that, focus that, spend lot time that.
that youre being leader for these folks.
part your job vis-a-vis OGC.
Make sure
Focus the leadership
So, yes.
And think spoke about before got there with the whole
staff. think had like townhall something before got
OGC and people responded that, least had some meetings with
And heard from other people his staff well, that
you, Jim, should focus morale when you get here.
Did you ever hear from Director Comey lack
confidence that might have had the legal acumen Mr. Weissman? never heard about that. dont recall that. dont
recall that.
Okay. was the management side. MR. ARTHUR BAKER:
Going back Midyear, how often would there meetings
about Midyear Exam?
Obviously very big case, very sensitive case.
How often would you called into meetings? dont know the full scope all the meetings that the
team had the case, just careful about that.
But terms
meetings that attended, there were series early there were
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE series regular briefings, think, that the deputy director asked
for. would get updates.
There would oral briefings and then short write-up, and want say its every week every weeks.
Something like that, dont remember specifically.
And the case
went for while.
And then the case progressed and got closer eventual
decision, there were more briefings for the Director himself and the
deputy director and the senior leaders the case the leaders
the team. Pete Strzok, Jon Moffa, Bill Priestap, those folks. the frequency increased over time and the participants changed
over time got closer resolution the case. know from previous interviews have done and documents have reviewed certain people that occupied certain positions,
think youve alluded this, they sort changed the case went
Some retired, some maybe promoted out.
You were the general counsel for the whole duration
And your deputy for national security law, Trisha
Anderson was she the deputy for the whole time?
She probably wasnt the deputy for the whole time. when started honest, cant remember exactly when started.
But might have been
was the acting deputy, think, the start it.
And they would also involved these meetings?
Not progressed, yes.
Early would early they would not be, least the ones that attended for the senior
But time progressed, Trisha came most those meetings
along with the unit chief for the counterintelligence law unit.
Were there, for lack better term, sub
Mr. Meadows.
Excuse me.
Who was the counterintelligence lawyer that youre referring to?
Mr. Baker.
Its GS-15 name and the FBI has told not say can answer that question, but defer the FBI that
Mr. Meadows.
Well, need know the name. mean, obviously, were looking witnesses, understand from privacy standpoint,
but need know the name. mean, are going back through this, have done this
over and over again, are going have witnesses come in, whether
theyre certain level not, they were important enough this meeting, then theyre important enough for know the
Ms. can take that back our management.
Mr. Meadows.
Heres what would recommend that you do.
Get one you the phone, get permission right now, that while have
him here get that.
Thats reasonable request.
Youve got three
One you can get the phone and get permission.
Sure, can that, Congressman.
Mr. Arthur Baker. next question involves name, but
think its one weve been able discuss before, Lisa Page? that
Mr. Baker.
That ones okay?
Lisa Page was attorney OGC some point? think all along her official position was that her slot, you will, was attorney OGC, that correct.
And then some point she was assigned where? various points she was assigned work for Andy McCabe
when was the executive assistant director for national security.
She was that position when got OGC. not sure when she
started, maybe 2013 until left, and cant remember when left
that job.
And then when Andy came back the deputy director, Lisa then
held special adviser kind position for him well. she was
technically still OGC, but she was assignment work for Andy
Was there are you aware any tension with Ms. Page and
maybe you someone general counsels office about what her title
would should Mr. McCabes office?
time. had discussions with Lisa about that various points came agreement about what she would doing without
regard what the title was, and felt comfortable that she understood
the scope her job and how she was supposed interact with OGC.
And mattered less what the title was then that she understood
what her job was supposed be? would she allowed give Mr. McCabe legal advice
whatever her title was while assigned his office?
Was she still OGC person for purposes being lawyer and allowed give advice? was she something different but carried the OGC org chart?
Theres not crisp answer that question, sorry.
course knew she would talking Andy about legal matters
throughout that time.
But the point was she was supposed include
OGC she wasnt supposed the definitive giver legal advice
for the FBI the deputy director, that she was supposed coordinate
back with me, other folks staff, Trisha Anderson, she
knew that the question involved some other part OGC she was supposed coordinate back with them, steer folks back that part OGC.
That was the understanding that had, least that understood.
Are you aware -BY MR. SOMERS:
And did she? mean, you say she was supposed to. not going swear that she did every single time.
But general general matter that was our that was understanding,
that was what told her, thats what she agreed with, and thats what
she was supposed do. course knew that the moment decision had made
quickly that she Andy might have conversation, but expected them report back about important things.
And had leave
both their discretion figure out that what important was,
know its kind vague.
But that was how were supposed try
work out.
Who did she report to, Deputy Director mean, what
Yeah, mean, she essentially reported the deputy
Mr. Arthur Baker.
Mr. Baker.
Hmm, good question.
Mr. Arthur Baker.
Mr. Baker.
Who did her performance appraisal? dont know the answer that.
You dont have may have. may have. may have had input it,
but dont remember, like, who signed the various performance
evaluations. sure the OGC can figure that out. MR. BREITENBACH:
Were you aware whether there was ever attorney that had
been assigned directly deputy director prior history?
Prior history, dont know.
who worked for Mark Giuliano.
was DOJ person she was lawyer, not really
serving DOJ lawyer over the FBI, not really serving lawyer capacity.
Again, she wasnt really supposed giving
legal advice, she was think she was actually chief staff.
she was supposed help him run the office opposed dispense legal
advice. there rule written rule providing legal
guidance inside the FBI?
There are legal rules.
bit messy. will frank, think theyre
Theyre not clean would have hoped have cleaned
them before left, but didnt.
Its not clean, think, the
regs are not clean you would hope, you want technical
about it.
But know that there are lawyers outside the general
counsels office, correct?
And many those lawyers are agents well?
Theres agents who are lawyers, theres agents who are
legal roles, theres agents who are not legal roles but who are
nevertheless lawyers.
And then agents from the Bureau talk
assistant U.S. attorneys across the country all the time.
standard practice.
But terms lawyers within the general counsels office, youre the general counsels office you are authorized within
the FBI provide legal guidance, but you are lawyer outside
the general counsels office and outside the chief division counsel
offices the field, are you authorized provide definitive legal
guidance for your client, speak, inside the FBI?
Generally no, but there are few exceptions, like folks that
deal with employment law, discrimination, that kind thing.
Theres few little pockets offices around the Bureau, its confusing, but
there are pockets within the Bureau who are allowed give legal advice
that dont remember general counsel.
Its not perfect.
everything. admit that that not the best way manage
But thats how grew over time.
What pockets are those? think its the EEO folks that have the authority give
some legal advice certain circumstances.
And trying think.
There are few other pockets offices and just drawing
blank right now off the top head.
Thats what remember.
was just kind issue throughout tenure general counsel and
one that was unable fix. MR. ARTHUR BAKER: colleague reminded issue, going back the
climate OGC.
Was there issue with EEO complaints filed OGC?
Specifically, were there high number?
There were EEO complaints that was aware when arrived.
There were ones that were filed while was there.
group people that work for Ms. have whole
that are responsible for
representing the FBI that. dont remember hearing any dont remember information
about quantitative blip something like that.
What about theme?
Was there any particular issue that came these complaints?
Like recurring theme? dont remember that.
there were there were several that was aware of.
they were all the same type. think not sure think there were variety
different types that can recall.
Have they been resolved any them resolved prior your
resignation? think most them were resolved, yeah.
How were they adjudicated? think lot them theres mediation process within
the FBI and think lot them are settled through that process.
Some, think, went the EEOC, but think would guess the majority them were settled.
Was there any indication from the Department
Justice, whoever their EEO folks would be, that there were very high
number EEO matters the FBIs general counsels office and that
there needed some resolution some them the Bureau level?
And maybe its the mediation level that you talk about.
Are familiar
with any concerns DOJ about high number? dont recall that.
Going back Midyear, one the themes, one the big
themes that weve looked, other entities have looked at, certainly the
inspector general looked at, whether there was bias the FBI
involving the decisionmaking process two their big cases, Midyear
and another one that well talk about little later, want jump
ahead little bit because its understanding you played very
unique role early with requesting that inspection done the
Midyear case once these texts became known.
And that there, the face it, appeared that there was
some language that could interpreted very pro one candidate, very
anti another candidate, and that would bias.
That you took the
initiative, its understanding, request that the FBIs internal
inspection mechanism take look the Midyear case see what might right with it, what might wrong with it.
Could you elaborate that?
Thats something havent heard whole lot about?
And looking across the table the inspector
general report and think theres some discussion that there.
So, yes, when heard about these texts, only read few them.
They were described me.
And immediately became quite alarmed.
And thinking was, well, from from the okay. dont
know what know that knew that the inspector general was looking them. knew that they would address them.
And knew that there
was process place. what was concerned about whether whether any decisions
had been taken not taken the Midyear case that were driven political bias any sort. was quite worried about that.
And wanted make sure that institution, the Bureau
institution, got top that extremely quickly.
And suggested the leadership that put together some
type team didnt exactly know how that, but consulted
with other folks basically review the case and have
independent group people come and look and assess whether any
decisions were made that looked unusual, that looked like they were
driven bias, decisions made, actions taken, things not done.
Thats what was also worried about, the omissions, right? talked about that, and there was agreement that,
and eventually was set and was done. the outset was also quite worried, knowing full well that
the inspector generals office was doing investigation, that
didnt want mess anything that they were doing.
And worked coordination with the inspector general.
actually spoke him and made sure that knew what were doing and
his staff knew what were doing, why wanted it, make
sure that was okay with him.
And approved it, his office approved
it. went forward with this review, sort done quietly off
the side.
But from perspective was incumbent upon good
managers actually good managers and this.
And you became concerned when you became aware the texts?
Yes. you remember specifically what texts?
didnt read all them.
You indicated you you remember what specifically alarmed
you? only saw few, and think there was derogatory reference the President. guess was not the President the time.
And then, cant remember who exactly was that described them me, but they were described their general character.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE only read like couple, literally couple.
enough for hear, that freaked out.
But that was
And was worried and thought need get top this quickly.
Mr. Breitenbach. you recall when you actually learned about
the texts?
Mr. Baker. was around the time when there was some event
when Andy McCabe was called across the street meet with the inspector
general told about the texts, and was like right that time
period. was either that day the next day.
Mr. Breitenbach.
Mr. Baker.
And was told
Can you approximate when that might have been? dont remember, sorry, just off the top
Its when believe was more less contemporaneous when
the Bureau found out about them. when the Bureau management found
out about them, thats when found out about them. drawing
complete blank.
Mr. Jordan.
Was that summer, last summer?
Mr. Levin. the report?
Mr. Baker. might the report. sorry, just cant
remember like the exact date sitting here today, even the months.
But was whenever Andy McCabe was called across the street,
was like that day the next day that found out about them.
Mr. Jordan.
Can guys? you mind?
Mr. Baker, Jim Jordan, Fourth District Ohio.
Thanks for
being here this morning. let back when you you were general counsel
until late December last year.
Mr. Baker.
Actually, was the first week January.
Mr. Jordan.
The first week January.
And then your
title became what?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Senior strategic adviser.
And was that the position you remained until you
left the FBI in, think, this past spring this year?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Until May, first week May, think was. like May 4th, think was.
And why did
your position change?
Mr. Baker.
The position changed had conversation with the
Director December and said that was interested making
And said, okay.
And had conversation about what would
like the Bureau, and talked about that.
And also said
that some point time would likely leave the Bureau, and
talked about putting -Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan. you remember the date that conversation? was early December, think, 2017.
Early December. one things that were curious about understanding
you accompanied Mr. McCabe when was first deposed House Intel mid- late December. couple days later, he, Mr. McCabe, was this very same room going through the same exercise youre going
through today and you did not accompany him that particular
transcribed interview.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE there reason you were the first one and not the second
Mr. Baker.
The first one, which think was different room
than are today -Mr. Jordan. was. was with the House Intel Committee.
then couple days later, maybe even the next day, cant remember,
but believe might have been the next day, you were not with Mr.
McCabe that particular one that were at.
Mr. Baker.
Yeah, the first one the deputy director the FBI
was going the Hill testify.
And was the general counsel the FBI, and thought, given his rank, should the one that
goes with him. the time the second one was either scheduled whatever,
cant remember, Congressman, somebody objected.
complaints about being there.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
There were some
And was the very next day, believe.
Was the next day? there was some was maybe
that evening the morning, remember having meeting with Andy
and some others his office and there was some level complaints, dont remember specifically who, and just decided:
just dont go.
You skip this one. cant remember.
No, Jim, may have sent
Trisha Anderson, dont remember, but -Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Who made that decision for you not come? sorry?
Who made that decision for you not come?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan. would say was Andy.
Andy -Andy McCabe, yeah.
Yeah. the guy you were sort representing and
helping that was the guy who told you not come?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Okay. going move another subject here.
Tell about your relationship with David Corn.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
David Corn?
David friend mine.
Tell about that. close friend?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Long-time friend.
Long-time friend.
When did you first meet
Mr. Corn?
Mr. Baker. dont specifically remember. long time ago,
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Years ago?
Years and years and years ago, yeah.
carpooled together.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Our kids carpooled with them when our kids were little.
You live the same neighborhood?
Live the same city, yeah.
All right.
How often you talk with
Mr. Corn?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Every few months so.
How about think you probably know where
headed how about leading just prior the election Presidential election 2016, how many times did you talk with
David Corn the weeks and months prior election day?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan. dont remember. fair say you did?
Mr. Baker.
Yes, did, but just dont remember how many.
Mr. Jordan.
And did did you talk Mr. Corn about anything
that the FBI was working on, specifically the now infamous Steele
Mr. Levin.
One second.
[Discussion off the record.]
Mr. Levin. sorry, going cut not let him answer
these questions right now.
You may may not know, hes been the
subject leak investigation which still criminal leak
investigation thats still active the Justice Department.
cutting off -Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Levin.
Can you speak more the mike there? sorry. cutting off any discussion about
conversations with reporters.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Meadows.
Based -Youre saying hes under criminal investigation?
Thats why youre not letting him answer?
Mr. Levin.
Mr. Meadows.
And youre saying that youre going take the
Mr. Levin.
No, saying not letting him answer the
This voluntary
Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Levin.
Thats not the prerogative.
Well, its voluntary interview now, is.
Mr. Meadows. what youre saying order answer
Mr. Jordans questions hes going have subpoenaed?
Mr. Levin.
question now. saying not going let him answer the you choose subpoena him, thats obviously your
Mr. Jordan.
Just clarify for us, youre, counsel, advising
Mr. Baker not answer that question because not because its
classified, not because any classification concerns, but because
there ongoing investigation whom?
Mr. Levin.
Mr. Jordan.
The Justice Department. mean, the inspector general looking this this -Mr. Levin.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Levin.
Mr. Jordan.
No, its Mr. John Durham, prosecutor.
Mr. Huber.
Durham, Durham.
Say again.
Mr. Levin.
John Durham.
Mr. Jordan.
All right.
Did you talk Mr. Corn prior the election about anything,
anything related FBI matters?
the Steele dossier.
Mr. Baker.
Not were not going ask about
Anything about FBI business, FBI matters?
Mr. Jordan.
And you know can you give some dates the number times that you talked Mr. Corn about FBI matters
leading the 2016 Presidential election?
Mr. Baker. dont remember, Congressman.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Several times week, several times day?
Can just consult with him for second?
[Discussion off the record.]
Mr. Baker. could just focus. what remember most
clearly that some point time David had part what now
referred the Steele dossier and talked about that and
wanted provide that the FBI.
And so, even though was friend, was also FBI official. knew that.
And wanted somehow get that into the hands
the FBI because -Mr. Jordan.
David Corn wanted give the FBI parts the
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Thats correct.
Thats what told me. you know where Mr. Corn got the dossier?
Sitting here today, dont remember that. know
tell you that?
Mr. Baker.
that was interviewed the FBI about this and there was 302.
never read the 302, but understand there was 302.
And the best recollection told the whatever knew the time, which was closer time the event, told the FBI
that point time. terms how David got it, dont specifically remember -Mr. Jordan.
But you think its recorded the 302?
You think
you told them then, but you dont remember now?
Mr. Baker. dont remember now. told that hed got it. just dont remember now how
Because there were various copies the
dossier floating around Washington, guess you would say, and the FBI
was getting it, you know -Mr. Jordan.
There were least three different copies,
understanding, and they were getting from all kinds sources,
including the author the dossier himself; and also including Bruce
Ohr. you definitely had conversations with David Corn prior the
elections about the dossier?
Mr. Baker. believe thats correct. dont remember
specifically the date these conversations, but know that David
was anxious get this into the hands FBI.
And being the person the FBI that knew the best, wanted give me.
Mr. Jordan.
And back again, tell exactly what the
investigation the reason you cant answer more specific questions
about the dossier because theres investigation, ongoing
investigation, speak, looking into exactly what?
Mr. Levin.
And sorry. didnt say couldnt answer any
questions about the dossier, and just has answered some. didnt
want him talking about interactions with reporters because there ongoing leak investigation that the Department having -Mr. Jordan. just talked about his interactions with
Mr. Levin.
Well, hes talked little bit about it, but dont
want him talking about conversations hes had with reporters because dont know what the questions are and dont know what the answers
are right now.
Given that there ongoing investigation him for leaks
which the Department has not closed, not comfortable letting him
answer questions. terms getting stuff from Mr. Corn, told you what
remembers about it.
Mr. Jordan. talk only about what Mr. Corn may have
gave him via information actual documents recordings anything
else, but hes not allowed talk about information may have
given Mr. Corn himself?
Mr. Levin.
Thats right. general matter, thats right.
mean, you want ask specific questions can figure out.
But general matter not comfortable having him talk about
things has said reporters while the Department still has
ongoing investigation.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker, did you know about the dossier prior
Mr. Corn telling you wanted give the dossier the FBI?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
You knew about it?
Mr. Jordan.
Had you read it, the installments sections all that you had that the FBI had their possession?
Mr. Baker. know that read some version it. cant recall read every single piece that got from all the difference sources.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
But know that some point time read
significant portion the dossier.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Some point time prior the election? would think so, yes.
Mr. Jordan. you knew about the dossier prior the election
and you had reviewed prior the election.
And also prior the
election Mr. Corn had copy the dossier and was talking you about
giving that you the FBI would have it. that all right?
mean all accurate.
Mr. Baker. recollection that had part the dossier,
that had other parts already, and that got still other parts from
other people, and that and nevertheless some the parts that David
Corn gave were parts that did not have from another source?
Mr. Jordan.
And you understand that Mr. Corn was the
first guy actually write public way about the dossier?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan. have heard about that, yes?
Mark, you have any more questions this section?
Mr. Meadows. let clear. wanted the FBI have the
dossier, David Corn did?
Mr. Baker.
Yes, told that had piece
Mr. Meadows. did give you the dossier?
you got parts the dossier from David Corn.
Because obviously did give that
Were you the intermediary?
Mr. Baker. gave me, and then immediately gave
think was Bill Priestap, who was the head our Counterintelligence
Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Baker.
And when gave you did you read it? dont think so.
Mr. Meadows.
Not his part, no. you lacked the curiosity read something that
That seems strange. mean, would probably have read
Mr. Baker. was very uncomfortable handling evidence, and
really wanted -Mr. Meadows.
Well, and guess that gets theoretically, dont get into issue here, theoretically, appropriate
for SES-level employees, specifically those the general counsels
office the like, have ongoing conversations with members the
media, whether its David Corn anyone else?
Mr. Levin.
Mr. Meadows. was doing it. that not -And thats theoretical question. didnt say just saying, theoretically, that something
thats approved the FBI regular basis where you have ongoing
conversation with the media?
Mr. Levin.
And not going allow him answer that
question, sir.
Mr. Breitenbach.
Actually, lets just not say even approved practice for attorneys within the
general counsels office speak with the press?
Mr. Levin. not going let him answer that question.
Mr. Meadows.
Well, let different direction then
following Mr. Jordan. normal practice for the general counsel talk
confidential human sources?
Mr. Baker. normal practice?
Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Baker.
No, its not normal practice.
Did you talk confidential human sources?
There another occasion that can think where
somebody brought material me, based preexisting relationship.
They gave the material me.
about it.
Same situation. was quite concerned gave the investigator
Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Baker.
Who was that?
Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Baker.
And who was that?
Michael Sussman.
Mr. Meadows.
And why did they seek Jim Baker, the general
counsel, out for the intermediary?
When they had multiple contacts
other than you, why would did you have personal relationship with
him, like you did with David Corn?
Mr. Baker. had personal relationship with Michael, and youd
have ask him why decided pick me.
Mr. Jordan. Michael member the media?
Mr. Baker. sorry.
Say that again.
Mr. Jordan.
Who Michael Sussman?
Mr. Baker.
Hes attorney D.C.
Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Baker.
And who does work for? works for Perkins Coie, law firm.
Mr. Meadows.
And what youre saying you were the
intermediary between Perkins Coie and the FBI because your personal
relationship with that attorney?
Mr. Baker. believe so.
Youd have ask Michael why came get that.
And why would attorney have this me.
Mr. Meadows.
evidence Perkins Coie?
Mr. Baker. told said that there had been not sure
exactly how they originally learned about that information, but what told was that there were cyber -Mr. Meadows. mean, normal intel operative?
How would have come this?
Mr. Baker. told that had cyber experts that had obtained
some information that they thought they should get into the hands
the FBI.
Mr. Meadows. ahead.
Mr. Jordan.
What was the information?
Was the dossier
well something different?
Mr. Baker.
No, no, was not the dossier.
was another matter. mean, dont know can talk about it. dont know what the Bureau wants do.
Ms. was another
But its another matter.
Mr. Baker.
Ill just stop.
Can confer, just clear?
[Discussion off the record.]
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker?
Yes, sir.
You were telling that Mr. Sussman handed you some
information gave you some information that you then took the FBI.
What was that information?
Mr. Baker.
Its unrelated the dossier, its another
investigative matter.
Mr. Jordan.
Unrelated the dossier, but related the
Trump-Russia matter?
Mr. Baker.
Ms. going defer the FBI that one.
Congressman, any questions that relate any
information evidence that impacts the Russia investigation will area that will not allow the witness answer because -Mr. Jordan. just asking deals with that.
asking you tell specifically is. that. not
Obviously, youre not going
Hes told doesnt deal directly with the dossier.
Does deal with something else related the Russia investigation?
Ms. will let him answer that question, but not into
anything related what that information may be.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan. the Perkins Coie directly lawyer with Perkins
Coie directly hands you information dealing with the Russia
investigation, not with the dossier but with the Russia investigation,
and this Michael Sussman, who the lawyer for the Democrat National
Committee and Secretary Clintons Presidential campaign, hes giving
you information.
When did this take place again?
Mr. Baker. cant remember specifically.
Again, believe
theres referred this the investigators, and believe they
made record and put the theres evidence you know, they
took information.
There evidence record what is. cant
specifically remember when was.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Before the election after the election? think was before.
You think was before?
Mr. Baker.
Yes, sir.
Mr. Jordan. about the same timeframe.
Are talking October
September 2016?
Mr. Baker.
No, was sometime earlier than that.
specifically remember. dont was earlier than the David Corn
Mr. Jordan.
Was between July 31st, 2016, and election day
Mr. Baker. dont specifically remember.
Mr. Meadows. could have been.
You dont specifically remember.
But obviously
July 31st date that you know very well terms what happened that particular date. was before that date after?
Not specific. mean, had
you opened the investigation not when you got that information?
Mr. Baker. apologize, sitting here today, dont
specifically remember the -Mr. Meadows.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Meadows. you have calendar that would indicate this?
When Sussman came in?
Can you get that us? need the time.
And, counselor, youre going there, would encourage
you get Dana Boente.
Because, listen, weve gone through this need timeframes. need understand it.
And this reasonable request when this particular attorney
obtained information from contact that was actually the attorney for
the Democrat National Committee. critical timeframe.
Was predicate not the investigation?
Congressman Meadows, what was going say was
will look see there calendar.
But involved any
way evidence with the special counsel investigation, youre right,
Dana the DAG will have make that decision.
see have that.
But will look
Mr. Meadows.
And will get one two things. will
either get calendar, exists, this day.
Mr. Meadows.
Yes. will get some kind written response from
the DAG why cant have this. this correct?
Thats correct.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker, fair say that any materials
passed the FBI general counsel automatically have reliability and level credibility attached them?
Youre the FBIs general
counsel, youre getting information from outside source and
passing it, that means something.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan. suppose so, Congressman.
And people are going take seriously when the FBI
general counsel has some source giving them information related
pretty darn important investigation, theyre going take that pretty
seriously and follow it.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Within the organization, the Bureau?
Yes, would say so.
Okay. anyone else giving you information? know about Mr. Corn giving you some the dossier. know about
Mr. Sussman giving you material not directly related the dossier,
but related the Russia investigation.
Anyone else give you
information the course the Russia investigation?
Mr. Baker. dont specifically recall sitting here today.
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker. one else?
Not that can recall.
Mr. Jordan.
You have anything more this, Mark? MR. BREITENBACH:
Sir, you had mentioned that there was 302 that you know exist with regard interview that the FBI conducted with you?
With respect David Corn.
That fairly confident cant remember they did 302 the Sussman thing because
they may have just recorded it, put the material into evidence, and
have records with respect that. gave material and that was
put into evidence. you recall the reason why the FBI was asking you any
questions all the first place?
Did they articulate what their
investigation was about? knew what the investigation was about, sure.
And what was the investigation?
What did just say, Russia, think?
With regard the 302 that they are interviewing you, are
they interviewing you based off the general Russia case this separate case? person gave what believed evidence.
that the FBI. provided the FBI wanted have record the chain
custody how that material came the FBI that would clear
down the road where the evidence came from.
Mr. Jordan.
this arrangement?
Mr. Baker, was this the first time you had ever had
Was this the first time Mr. Sussman ever gave you
information that you passed proper people the FBI?
Mr. Baker.
Well, had litigated against the FBI, had had
conversations with him about that.
Mr. Jordan. talking this kind hes not litigation
with the FBI this situation.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan.
Hes just giving you information because hes doing out the goodness his heart great American citizen,
sounds like. on. hes giving you that information and youre passing this the first and only time thats ever happened?
Mr. Baker. that context, yes. mean, again, think told things the course litigation, hes informing about
Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
information. course, thats normal. hes providing with quote, unquote,
But where provided something that would regard evidence this was the only time.
Mr. Jordan.
Has anyone else ever done that, any other
lawyer just call you out the goodness their heart and tell
you theyre going give you information thats going help you with
some ongoing investigation?
Mr. Baker.
Not that can recall.
But guess would say
lawyers would call from time time for the same kind reason
you were talking about, they could get the general counsel and
you could get the general counsel engaged issue -Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Jordan. get that. then its more likely have something happened.
Yeah, get that.
But this the first time and your recollection the only time outside counsel had information
and was wanting make sure got the general counsel the FBI,
and happened deal with the Russia investigation.
Mr. Baker. that thats correct.
Sitting here today, thats
the only one can remember.
Mr. Jordan.
How much time?
Thank you, Mr. Baker.
[11:22 a.m.]
Good morning, Mr. Baker.
Good morning. name Valerie Shen.
counsel. the chief national security
Thank you very much for coming.
National security counsel
for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and will helping lead some the democratic staff questioning today.
And have with Congressman Raskin, who will some lines
But first just wanted revisit something that was
discussed the last round.
And forgot mention it, but believe
the time was 11:21 when began. the last round, the majority discussed evidence that Michael
Sussen from Perkins Coie.
And Mr. Sussman was still is, think attorney Perkins Coie, that correct?
That correct.
And how you know Mr. Sussman? cant remember when first met Michael, but and both
worked the criminal division together the Department Justice,
and knew each other there and then had mutual friends.
have just, our paths have crossed repeatedly over the years.
And what kinds issues did work the Department Justice? think worked the computer crime area.
And believe last round was mentioned that Perkins
Coie, his firm, had represented the DNC and the Hillary Clinton
campaign, that your understanding well?
That what they said. have never confirmed that.
think read that the press.
Okay. when Mr. Sussman came you provide some
evidence, you were not specifically aware that was representing the
DNC the Hillary Clinton campaign the time? dont recall, dont recall him specifically saying that that time.
When Mr. Sussman did provide you this evidence, did
you react any any way with concern.
Were you alarmed?
you did you believe that was inappropriate for him come
you with this information?
No, did not believe was inappropriate. was citizen
providing information the FBI about matter that they thought had
either with crime some national security threat.
And did not seem inappropriate me.
Okay. guess just interpretation, but believe
last round was somewhat implied that did have association the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign
that that might lead someone believe that something improper was
And wonder you could just explain me, you know, why your
view that was not improper because, just the mere notion that
someone who Democrat Republican, you know, comes you with
information, should that information somehow discounted
considered less credible because of, you know, partisan affiliation?
Well, the FBI responsible for protecting everybody this
Period, full stop.
And that, without regard who
they are what their political background anything else.
they believe they have evidence crime believe they have been victim crime, will what can within our lawful authorities protect them.
And when citizen comes with evidence, accept it. my, just general understanding over many, many years.
Bureau, we, the Department Justice.
what Michael was doing.
We, the
And that how construed was, believed had evidence, again,
either crime national security threat, and believed was appropriate provide us.
When did, didnt think
there was anything improper about whatsoever. said, recognized that was obtaining evidence and wanted get out hands into the hands agents quickly possible.
And that what did.
Mr. Raskin.
Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Baker. March 2017, Director Comey disclosed public testimony
that the FBI had launched investigation into the Russian
Governments efforts interfere into the 2016 presidential election,
including the nature any links between individuals associated with
the Trump campaign and the Russian Government and whether there was
any coordination between the campaign and Russias efforts, unquote.
Did you work that investigation?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
Mr. Baker.
What was your role? was the general counsel, was responsible for
advising the Director and other leaders the FBI with respect that
investigation, interacting with the Department Justice and then
interacting with other levels the FBI and importantly making sure
that the other folks the FBI were getting the legal services they
needed from office support them the investigation.
Mr. Raskin.
Mr. Baker.
And when did you stop working it? would say when left, when left the position
general counsel, the first week January 2018, was still
was significantly less involved once the special counsel was
appointed, but still played role from time time after that.
Mr. Raskin. would like ask you some questions about the
FBIs investigative techniques generally. May 18, 2018, the President tweeted apparently, the DOJ put spy the Trump campaign.
This has never been done before.
And any means necessary, they are out frame Donald Trump for crimes did not commit.
Are you aware any information that would substantiate the
Presidents claim that the Department Justice, quote, put spy the Trump campaign?
Mr. Baker. just want look the FBI for second here terms responding about these types questions, recognizing that
this unclassified and how you want respond that.
Can you repeat the question?
Mr. Raskin.
Are you aware any information that would
substantiate the Presidents claim that DOJ, quote, put spy the
Trump campaign.
Mr. yes question, and then when get past
that part, can have conversation, necessary.
Mr. Baker.
The answer no, not aware effort put spy the campaign.
Mr. Raskin.
Does the FBI place spies U.S. political
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
Not knowledge.
Are you aware any information that would
corroborate substantiate the Presidents claim that DOJ is, quote,
out frame Donald Trump?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
Have you ever been involved any investigations
where the FBI did not follow its established protocols the use
human informants?
Mr. Baker.
Not that can specifically recall off the top
The FBI makes mistakes but have mechanisms correct
unearth and correct those mistakes. not saying the FBI never makes mistake, just saying dont, off the top head, cant
think anything specifically response that.
Mr. Raskin.
Have you ever been involved the DOJ FBI
investigation that was conducted initiated for political purpose?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
Have you ever been involved the DOJ FBI
investigation that tried frame U.S. citizens for crimes they did
not commit?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
No. your time FBI, are you ever aware the FBI
conducting investigation frame U.S. citizen for crime
she did not commit?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
Okay. May 20, 2018, President Trump tweeted,
and quote, hereby demand, and will officially tomorrow, that
the Department Justice look into whether not the FBI, DOJ
infiltrated surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes
and any such demands requests were made people within the Obama
exclamation point, unquote. political rally May 29th, 2018, the President again stated
quote, how you like the fact that they had people infiltrating
our campaign? your knowledge, did the FBI DOJ ever investigate the Trump
campaign, quote, for political purposes?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin. your knowledge, did President Obama anyone
his White House ever, quote, demand request that the DOJ FBI,
quote, infiltrate surveil the Trump campaign for, quote,
political purposes?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
And how would you the FBI leadership have handled
any requests this nature launch inquiry for political purposes infiltrate for political purposes?
Mr. Baker. would have rejected out hand and would have
resigned, compelled it.
Mr. Raskin.
Good. just have few more questions here. March 2017, Director Comey disclosed public testimony
that the FBI had begun investigation into, quote, the Russian
Governments efforts interfere the 2016 presidential election,
including, quote, the nature any links between individuals
associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian Government and
whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russias
efforts, unquote.
When you first learned about tip that the Russian Government
could coordinating with the Trump campaign, what was your reaction that?
Were you concerned alarmed it?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin. was alarmed that, yes. the evidence developed the point where the FBI
began official investigation, did your thinking change any way?
Mr. Baker. sorry, say that again.
Mr. Raskin. the evidence developed the point where the FBI
actually launched official investigation, did your thinking change?
Had you grown more alarmed and concerned less so?
Mr. Baker. guess grew more alarmed over time.
Mr. Raskin.
How often does the FBI investigate the potential
coordination between presidential campaign our country and
foreign adversary? that common thing?
Mr. Baker. think this the first instance that aware
Mr. Raskin.
And what was your estimate the national security
risk involved such potential coordination?
How important was the
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin. viewed the case very important.
Was important keep the investigation secret
before the election?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
And what steps did the FBI undertake maintain the
secrecy the investigation?
Mr. Baker.
material. maintained the classification lot the limited the number people that talked about with talked about the investigation internally the Department
Justice. classified information and restricted access
information, and treated very sensitive matter.
Mr. Raskin.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
Did the investigation ever leak? dont think so.
How would you articulate the importance
maintaining secrecy about that investigation?
Mr. Baker. was critically important give enough time able investigate without the Russians anybody else
understanding what that were investigating understanding
what knew and what were trying collect information
ascertain whether these initial allegations that received had any
truth them.
Mr. Raskin.
Today, know that the investigation began before
the election July 2016, but news leaked out the press.
You were aware the investigation before the election?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
And you know whether Peter Strzok was aware
Mr. Baker.
Yes, was.
Mr. Raskin.
Lisa Page?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
Andrew McCabe?
James Comey?
What about DOJ officials?
Loretta Lynch?
Mr. Baker. think she was aware. dont recall myself having conversation with her about it, but think she was aware.
Mr. Raskin.
Mr. Baker. you know whether Sally Yates was aware it?
Same thing. assumption was that she was aware
Mr. Raskin.
Mr. Baker.
And John Carlin?
Same. didnt speak him about it, but think was aware.
Mr. Raskin.
How many officials would you estimate were aware
the investigation before the election?
Mr. Baker.
That hard one answer. would say small
Again, because were trying keep quiet.
Mr. Raskin.
And did you make any disclosures about this
investigation the press the public before election day?
Mr. Levin.
Just consistent, not going let him answer
any question about leaks.
Mr. Raskin.
Got you.
And dont know you can answer
this one, but are you aware any evidence so-called deep state
conspiracy the FBI stop Donald Trump from being elected?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
And are you aware any evidence Peter Strzok
and Lisa Page, James Comey, Andrew McCabe working stop Donald
Trump from being elected?
Mr. Baker.
Mr. Raskin.
Okay. have got further questions.
Mr. Baker.
Thank you. MS. SHEN:
Just circle back the topic left off before, there
were some discussion last round, again, that Mr. Sussman providing
you information your capacity general counsel that that was not
the typical route for evidence. that about what you recall?
Yes. regardless not being the most typical route for
evidence besides the FBI, when the evidence provided you, does
the FBI have process evaluate the credibility the evidence, vet would any other piece evidence coming the FBI?
Okay. whatever evidence was provided you would have
been evaluated the same individuals the FBI through whatever
typical challenges the FBI gets its evidence?
All right. would like now just ask you few
more questions about your professional background, some detail. believe you mentioned that the Department Justice you worked the Office Intelligence Policy and Review from 1990 2007, does
that sound right?
1996 2007, yep.
1996 2007.
And you mentioned this briefly before,
but can you generally describe what the duties the Office
Intelligence and Policy Review was?
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE was provide legal and policy advice the attorney
general and other high ranking Department Justice officials well the intelligence community U.S. intelligence law and national
security matters, counterintelligence, whole range national
security-related issues.
Among other things, were responsible for representing the
United States before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court,
which meant prepared all the FISA applications and brought them
court, working with the various intelligence agencies. that was substantial part our responsibility.
And you have personal experience drafting,
preparing and managing FISA warrant applications before the FISA court?
Okay. you had estimate, how many FISA warrant
applications have you worked on? did figure this out once. you include preparing,
reviewing, supervising, over 10,000.
And you also have personal experience working directly
with the FISA court judges?
And you have estimate, again, how many
interactions did you have person otherwise?
Well, when was doing this full-time, there were countless. cant remember. dont know how many.
Every day.
And math serves right, you served the Office
Intelligence Policy and Review for about years?
Okay. worked well, working FISA one way the other,
And overall, how many years FISA experience you
because have also taught about FISA law school well, you
include all that, is, you know, roughly years experience.
And would fair call you FISA expert?
The name Office Intelligence Policy and Review changed some point.
And FISA one your subject matter specialties? you mentioned being merged into NSD,
the same functions but just merged NSD? essentially the same functions.
They reorganized it.
But, for example, there Office Intelligence within the National
Security Division that handles all the FISA matters today, which successor OIPR.
Other parts OIPR have been broken and
put into different parts NSD.
But the FISA component remains
There core FISA component still the
National Security Division.
You served OIPR which the Nation was attacked
September 11, 2001?
That correct.
And what was your role that office leading our Nations
counterterrorism and counterintelligence activities the aftermath those attacks? was the head the office.
And generally, were there significant changes how
the U.S. approached counterterrorism intelligence activities
response the 9/11 attacks?
Substantial changes.
Can you describe few examples?
Well, there were legal changes, there were organizational
changes, there were, you know, new agencies were created, likes DHS,
for example.
There were new ways doing business with the FISA court,
there were new ways doing business terms how the agencies
interacted with each other, there were new ways sharing information,
sharing intelligence information, there were substantially more
resources devoted counterterrorism after 9/11, obviously. was, think fair say, was revolutionary terms the volume and scope the changes that occurred.
And what kind changes involved the FISA court that you
just mentioned.
How was that done differently?
The volume FISA applications went substantially, the
number emergency FISA authorizations went astronomically. had then build whole infrastructure deal with all
The types targets changed, the techniques, the surveillance
techniques changed, the technology changed, the Internet became much
more prevalent, Internet-based communications became much more
The demand for quick, rapid, information-sharing increased
Then you had whole other stream things that was
going having with the Stellar Wind program that President Bush
had authorized.
And that changed lot the FISA practice various
ways. was the velocity and volume and variety things was
substantially different after 9/11. the FISA function significantly scaled and became more
aggressive after 9/11?
Still within the law, but aggressive. December 2016, you received the George H.W. Bush Award
For Excellence Counterterrorism, the CAs highest award for
counterterrorism achievements.
Okay. that accurate?
And January 2007, you received the NSAs
Intelligence Under Law Award, the NSA Directors Distinguished Service
Medal and the Department Justices highest award from attorney
general Alberto Gonzalez. that accurate?
Where are you currently employed? currently employed the Brookings Institution, visiting fellow there.
Institute. visiting fellow the Lawfare lecturer law Harvard law School, and also
have own consulting firm.
What subjects you teach Harvard Law School?
National security law. Mr. Baker, there have been number serious repeatedly
made allegations that the FBI and Department Justice abused its FISA
authority pursuing surveillance warrant for former Trump campaign
official Carter Page October 2016. long-term expert FISA, think would helpful you
would help review and understand how that process actually works. first, just stepping way, way back.
What the purpose?
the typical purpose FISA surveillance warrant? FISA authorization investigative tool. just tool provide the FBI the intelligence community, more broadly,
with foreign intelligence information related valid foreign
intelligence objective.
And highly intrusive, potentially,
tool that used the FBI, the other parts the intelligence
community, and overseen closely various elements the
government make sure that being done for the right purposes.
And, mean, that the basic idea. surveillance tool provide the FBI with foreign intelligence information.
And the purpose FISA surveillance warrant
isnt directly for criminal investigation criminal purpose?
Well, this complicated through all that, but the
FBI the FISA the statute requires that there certification
from high ranking national security official like the FBI Director
that significant purpose the FISA application obtain foreign
The line between what criminal and what intelligence
sometimes becomes blurred and that was big issue before 9/11 and even
after 9/11, that has been sorted out basically now.
But significant
purpose the surveillance has for foreign intelligence
And somebody high ranking has sign their name that
And so, generally, when does the FBI decide should apply
for FISA warrant? one the techniques that agents know about part their investigations.
And they have have probable cause order justify having seeking and obtaining FISA authorization.
And not typically the first things that done
You build that point.
You collect other
information, other evidence, you will, and gather that and develop
your probable cause.
And then some point time, you seek the FISA
when makes sense the investigation.
commitment resources.
There are significant
FISA authorizations are significant
commitment resources the Bureau, and the managers, for other
reason, other than efficiency and appropriate use resources need think about the deployment those resources that way. they need serious about the investigation and
the right time when makes sense for the investigation. FBI investigator thought they had, you know, clear,
strong case for probable cause, would pretty typical want
pursue FISA application investigative tool the resources,
equation made sense?
Yeah, think so. normal tool that they worked
They dont always get every case. fact, they dont
get most cases.
Can you walk through the process from when for
when the FBI wants apply for FISA warrant surveil U.S. person.
So, you know, who makes that initial decision, who approves it, who involved that process? complicated process, probably going miss
some the steps exactly.
But the basic idea that FBI field
office, for example, investigating particular subject, and they
determine that they want obtain FISA, that will reviewed within
the field office. will through the management chain the field
office through variety different supervisors. will also get legal scrub the field office.
And then there
will most likely, interactions with the Office General Counsel,
FBI headquarters, depending what type case is,
counterterrorism counterintelligence.
And then will once the
FBI has decided that wants pursue this, then request will
across the street the Department Justice the Office
Intelligence. possible that there has been some interaction with
assistant United States attorney along the way, but then will get
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE complete review various levels within the Department Justice.
Once everyone agrees that this that want forward,
then there signature process that the agencies through, and
there are certain signatures that need obtained through the field
office, through headquarters, and including the director the
deputy director the FBI.
They have sign it.
Then goes across
the street the Department Justice, and then has to, either
the assistant attorney general for national security, the deputy
attorney general the attorney general. there are range there are lot reviews with respect this.
And then once you are done with that, goes the FISA
court, where the FISA court legal advisers typically look all the
applications, they scrub them.
And then once they are satisfied, then goes Federal judge, one the judges the FISA court who sitting Federal judge normal District Court the United
And then that, the judge reviews well. goes through
many reviews the executive branch and the judiciary.
Excuse and all this subject oversight
How the evidence usually collected assemble and put
into FISA warrant application. there specific investigation? it, you know, whatever you have from your previous investigation, there separate process for obtaining additional evidence?
Well, you have have full investigation opened order obtain FISA. full investigation just means you have have
sufficient probable cause sufficient factual predication within, pursuant the attorney general guidelines order use that
technique, because such intrusive technique. and the FBI can gain the information from any lawful source establish probable cause.
But typically, there will witness
interviews, there will collection of, dont know, phone records,
physical surveillance, you might have, confidential source
You might have information from foreign partner.
could have intercepts from some other intelligence agency that may have
been provided the FBI.
You have whole range different
information, different types information that could into FISA
And you mentioned, you know, quite number people
and different components different levels, understand you can
only give rough ballpark, but, you know, how many people overall
will involved in, you know, putting together FISA application that
the FBI the Department Justice? would worried about giving you number, but dont
know, just rough estimate, least people, something like that,
Sometimes more.
And typically, how long might process like this take
assemble the information, you know, check all the, boxes, through
the signature process.
How long will take assemble complete
application? depends.
The cases are prioritized.
And the ones
that are the most urgent counterterrorism case where there imminent threat, the process can move extremely quickly, and
can done all orally.
But typically, takes much longer than that. hard say. dont know what the average number right now. can take days,
weeks, sometimes months move FISA through, depending depends the nature the threat and the strength the probable cause.
The bigger the threat, the stronger the probable cause, the faster
goes through the system.
And believe you already listed, quite few names off, but the FBI who approves signs off FISA application?
you mentioned the director, deputy director. believe
Does all the way
down the field office? would through the Office General Counsel.
general counsel, didnt approve them all.
There were range
people the national security law branch who could approve them, but
there had some level approval.
There had approval
the headquarters level, the field, terms the substantive
Yeah, think that it. what point, and based evidence collection does
the FISA warrant application from the FBI the Department
Justice for their review?
Formally, there request that sent across the
Department Justice sorry yes, the Department Justice,
but there could informal interactions from very early stage where
the Department Justice aware particular case. could over and brief them and say, you know, here
this case, are worried about it.
should expect that soon. are working the FISA.
And they might work with directly. hard give crisp answer that.
There formal way it, but most times there are informal interactions with people
because, again, important think FISA part case
that everybody working on.
This only one tool that used.
But important enough case, lot people know about
Does the Department Justice review ensure that the FISA
application supported credible evidence?
They review make sure supported credible
evidence, that the techniques are techniques that can approved, and
that the purpose lawful purpose.
And how does the Department Justice conduct these reviews?
They examine the written materials that send over.
question our folks, they ask for additional documents, send emails back
and forth.
They have robust interactions with the FBI over time with
respect what going with the investigations satisfy
themselves that they understand what happening and why.
Would you say the Department Justice treats this process
pretty seriously?
Very seriously, yes.
Very seriously.
How rigorous would you describe their
Extremely rigorous, yeah.
How often would the Justice Department send application
back the FBI for, you know, some additional review, asking for
additional documentation, information? think constantly, yeah.
And so, would the Department send FISA application
back the FBI they believed factual assertion was not
sufficiently substantiated?
Yes, but they would have, they would ask questions about it. not formalistic. mean, can formalistic terms
documents going back and forth, but more often, would think they would
have emails and conversations the Department had concern about factual allegation, whether was true not, they would ask
see the underlying material.
The FBI would provide that them.
would either satisfied not.
And would have ongoing
And sometimes, there would agreement collect
more information.
And the FBI would that before the FISA would move
forward. would more like routine back and forth over number different issues between Department Justice and the FBI?
There routinely, there extensive interaction
between the Department Justice and the FBI with respect what goes
into FISA application.
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE the Department Justice, informally not, had flagged
something they believed required additional substantiation, what might
that look like?
What would the FBI say, well, you know, here another corroborating source, here another like what kind
information would that require address their concern?
Whatever might have. mean, would try provide the
Department with whatever they needed.
Sometimes would say, you
really need this, this might really hard get. dont have it, might not able get any circumstance.
How important the probable cause.
going back and forth.
You would have those kinds discussions
And maybe the sometimes, the Department would
say, no, okay, agree, dont need that. too hard get.
Other times, they would push for and would get it.
Sometimes would successful, sometimes not. trying understand, just generally speaking, how
the Department Justice would and the FBI would evaluate the
credibility factual assertion that came from source another
right, because you have intelligence information coming from,
imagine, spectrum sources, different reliability, different
And what the process for looking whatever factual
assertion that source provided and then also evaluate the credibility that underlying source make you know, final determination?
So, again, that part the standard review FISA
applications, make sure that the FBI and the Department understand
the credibility any information that going into, whether
documentary evidence, information information from source. there guess you would say scrubbing process the
sources make sure that this case, the Department, satisfied
that the source reliable and that there are any indications anything that might call the sources reliability into
question, that that information put forward the application somehow otherwise made known the court.
And can you provide example what might call
sources credibility into question?
Well, the source had lied the past, the source had
received substantial payments from the FBI some other government
agency. the FBI investigation had revealed the source was involved some type illegal activity the side, things like that.
source was not complying with direction from the FBI, the handlers,
that might issue that you would put into the application.
Does the FBI might not even make into the application because
the end the day, the Department might assess that the source not
credible, and you just dont even forward.
Does the FBI the Department Justice provide
accounting analysis what the motivation was for the source
come forward with their information.
And are there certain
motivations that are, you know, deemed less credible, reliable? mean, guess would be, the motivation, the
motivation impacted the assessment the credibility, then you might
put that there.
So, for example, estranged spouse. that was
the source, then you would have have conversation about how
important that was.
You might discuss whether that was too revealing
about who the source was put that there.
But have been
involved those kinds conversations the past.
But something
that indicated some animus against the subject that therefore might
call into question the credibility the source.
You would have conversation about that, assess whether the
source was reliable not and then endeavor put the FISA court
notice about that. the Bureaus judgment, source had personal motive
against the target the surveillance related, that would
something that you believed should noted for the FISA
You should certainly have conversation about that and
figure out whether that, you should proceed with the application
not and whether you should how you are going tell the FISA court
about this.
And there variety ways that protect the
identity the source, but, yeah, there animus against the
subject, then that something that you have think about seriously.
Are there cases where source judged have animus
against subject, and nonetheless deemed credible well? what? will just rephrase.
Are there cases where source judged have animus against
the target surveillance but nonetheless judged credible
and reliable? mean, dont recall specifically case from the past about
that, but would say that kind circumstance, recollection would put forward the reason that the source has the animus against
the subject and explain that the court.
And then explain
nevertheless, believe the source reliable for the following
reasons. you are going have then focus establishing why
those establishing those reasons why you still believe the person credible even notwithstanding the animus. the animus relevant analysis but not
disqualifying vacuum? not disqualifying just automatically, would say no.
How frequently would you say the FBI receives information
from sources that are judged have some personal motive coming the FBI?
that one.
That hard question answer. not sure can answer not infrequent. the context FISA warrant applications, can you
explain what means verify information? have heard that term
used lot, guess more the terms of, you know, unverified
information, but believe believe term art,
some extent, terms there requirement verify information. was wondering you can explain that us?
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE not sure exactly what that means this context.
mean, have developed processes over time make sure that any
allegation that put into FISA application backed some
type underlying document. for example, were talking about 302s before,
that which report interview you put
application you put sentence application saying this
happened this date, then have process make sure, okay, where
does that come from?
said this.
Oh, comes from this 302 where this witness you have information from national security letter, telephone record, you want make sure you have that. terms verifying the information, what thinking about make sure when have procedures make sure that all the
factual assertions the application are backed some underlying
document support them. you are verifying something, you are able match the underlying source documentation, but that not the same
thing saying that factual assertion already proven true?
Okay? just this where came from. important thing remember FISAs take place the middle investigation.
And you are still learning about what
You put forward the information that you have the particular
time that you have it, but you could wrong. could that you
are completely wrong about what you have concluded with respect this
But that what you are trying find out.
And you are wrong,
then you will conclude the investigation and further action follow. you are right, you will keep going and then you will deal with
whatever happens.
But that things turn out not the case that you put forward the application long you believe them truthful the
time and had support for that, that happens. FISA application, the Bureau the Department
often put together their best intelligence assessment the time, but you are saying some things might prove wrong. wrong later?
And that were the case, wouldnt really fair say
the Bureau the Department trying trick the FISA court?
No. current understanding that under the FISA statute, warrant can obtained conduct electronic surveillance U.S.
person they can show probable cause that the target agent foreign power.
Does that sound
That correct.
Okay. how does the FBI determine whether there
probable cause that someone agent foreign power?
What kinds things would they look at? you look the statutory definitions agent foreign
And one the important things there requires that when pertains U.S. persons that their activities are engaged
knowingly support that. you are going look everything can collect short FISA about that person lawfully and assess whether the person fits
within that definition, and then focus whether not there
evidence/information that the person knows that she involved these types activities. you try marshal all the physical surveillance, documents,
interview witnesses, sources, intelligence from other agencies,
intelligence from foreign partners, everything you can possibly get bring bear the question whether this person legitimate
target under FISA.
Could referring one self informal adviser
foreign government considered evidence someone knowing
agent foreign power?
That would relevant.
Can you explain briefly what minimization procedures are
the context FISA warrant application for U.S. person?
Minimization procedures are critical protection that
exists the statute and have employed each application
order protect the privacy Americans, which the one the most
important points FISA.
And they are part what make FISA
applications reasonable under the FISA authorizations reasonable
under the Fourth Amendment. they require the government basically reduce the amount
information that acquires, retains, and disseminates about U.S.
person consistent with the foreign intelligence needs the United
States. would that prohibit, you know, their names, you know, any
kind personal identifying information, what would the restrictions terms describing U.S. person vague terms?
How does that
work practice? depends. there are standard minimization procedures
that exist that the government has follow.
There could
additional minimization procedures that the court employs any
particular case, but you have contextual. depends upon who you are disseminating information to, why
they need that information, and that the information foreign
intelligence essentially, foreign intelligence evidence
crime. you are giving authorized recipient, and the
disclosure the identity, lets say, makes sense this context
because part what the foreign intelligence information
the evidence crime, and you are giving somebody that you
assess needs know that information exec