Judicial Watch announced on Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for all records of communication from January 2016 to January 2018 between former FBI General Counsel James Baker and anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele.
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking to compel the FBI to comply with a January 5, 2018, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00177). The lawsuit seeks:
Any and all records of communication, including but not limited to emails, text messages and instant chats, sent between Baker and any of the following individuals: former British intelligence officer Steele, principal of Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd.; Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS; former GPS contractor Nellie Ohr; and/or David Corn, a reporter with Mother Jones magazine.
The FBI claimed it had no responsive records, but Baker was deeply involved with the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign and is currently the subject of a criminal investigation for leaking to the media.
The FBI’s “no records” response is belied by Baker’s closed-door congressional testimony in October 2018, in which he reportedly testified that David Corn, a reporter at the far Left Mother Jones magazine, had provided him with a copy of the anti-Trump dossier the day after President Trump’s 2016 election victory. Baker also reportedly testified that he believed at the time Corn received the dossier from Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS.
Fusion GPS employee Nellie Ohr is the wife of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who was a key conduit between dossier author Christopher Steele and the FBI. Former FBI Director James Comey himself called the dossier “salacious and unverified.”
Judicial Watch in August 2018 filed a related lawsuit seeking records about the Ohrs’ involvement in the anti-Trump dossier and the FBI’s meetings with the Democratic National Committee’s law firm Perkins Coie. In November Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit about the firm itself.
Perkins Coie had hired Fusion GPS to dig into President Trump’s background. Baker reportedly told congressional investigators that Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann “initiated contact with [Baker] and provided documents and computer storage devices on Russian hacking.” The contact was made in late 2016 as federal investigators prepared a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
In August 2018, Judicial Watch released FBI records showing that Steele was cut off as a “Confidential Human Source” after he disclosed his relationship to the FBI to a third party. The documents show at least 11 FBI payments to Steele in 2016.
Baker also advised top FBI officials during the Hillary Clinton email scandal. He left his role as general counsel in January 2018 and resigned from the FBI in May 2018.
“The real collusion scandal of the 2016 election is the effort by the Clinton campaign and the Obama DOJ/FBI to spy on and destroy President Donald Trump,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “And it looks like the FBI is covering up documents on this Russiagate scandal, which is why Judicial Watch is again in federal court.”