Twitter general counsel James Baker – a former top FBI official at the center of the “Russia collusion” hoax – was fired Tuesday after it was revealed that he was “vetting” the internal communications designated for release by new owner Elon Musk.
The files document the social media giant’s censorship of evidence tying then-presidential candidate Joe Biden to his family’s global influence-peddling operation, which made multi-million-dollar deals with the likes of Chinese Communist Party companies, and Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs.
Baker was fired Tuesday, according to Musk.
“In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today,” wrote Musk on Twitter.
Later, investigative journalist Matt Taibbi – who reported the initial “Twitter Files” release Friday – revealed Baker was “vetting” the internal documents, delaying the release of a second batch of files to Taibbi and independent journalist Bari Weiss.
“The news that Baker was reviewing the ‘Twitter files’ surprised everyone involved, to say the least,” Taibbi wrote Tuesday evening. “Reporters resumed searches through Twitter Files material – a lot of it – today.”
Taibbi promised the “next installment” will appear in the near future.
Baker, while with the FBI, was alleged to be the source of the Mother Jones story that first reported the bogus, anti-Trump “Steele Dossier” of Russian propaganda prior to the 2016 election. Baker also was at the center of the investigation of the since-debunked claim that Donald Trump had a communications backchannel with Vladimir Putin through a Russian bank. The FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into the claim after Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann pushed the allegations to Baker and the bureau.
Prior to Musk’s disclosure Tuesday, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, recounted a sequence of events that led to Twitter hiring Baker.
“FBI Agent Timothy Thibault tried to shut down an avenue of the Hunter Biden investigation,” he wrote. “Then, Twitter hires former FBI General Counsel James Baker who helps give the company an excuse to suppress the story. Coordination?”
FBI Agent Timothy Thibault tried to shut down an avenue of the Hunter Biden investigation.
Then, Twitter hires former FBI General Counsel James Baker who helps give the company an excuse to suppress the story.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) December 6, 2022
House Republicans also wrote a letter to Baker on Tuesday asking him to contact the House Oversight Committee and appear before the panel during the next Congress, when Jordan likely will be the panel’s chairman.
The letter, citing information released by Twitter, says Baker allegedly “played a key advisory role in the decision to censor” the Post stories.
Jordan noted the Reuters report Tuesday that the Biden Justice Department is investigating Musk’s Elon Musk’s medical device company Neuralink.
“Surely it’s just a coincidence that the Biden Administration is investigating one of @elonmusk;s companies at the same time Musk is releasing the truth on the Hunter Biden #TwitterFiles,” Jordan wrote.
Biden team’s direct link to Twitter
On Friday evening, Taibbi began reporting the internal communications documenting the company’s suppression of the New York Post’s blockbuster stories before the 2020 election presenting evidence from a laptop abandoned by Hunter Biden contradicting Joe Biden’s claim he never discussed the business deals with his son.
The messages between Twitter officials show the Biden White House had a direct line to the social media giant to remove information it didn’t like.
Among the other revelations:
- Twitter’s CEO at the time, Jack Dorsey, was left out of the loop in the decision to suppress the New York Post’s stories.
- The move to censor the stories was led by Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy and trust, who previously was responsible for decisions to ban the accounts of conservative figures and who fiercely opposed Musk’s takeover.
- Many Twitter insiders questioned the stated rationale that the New York Post’s stories violated the company’s “hacked materials” policy.
- A former Twitter employee told Taibbi: “Hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that wasn’t going to hold. But no one had the guts to reverse it. They just freelanced it.”
- Members of Twitter’s communications and policy teams were concerned about the decision and the implications for the company’s relationship with Capitol Hill.
- Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California warned the decision had been met with a “huge backlash” on Capitol Hill.
- Accusing of violating Twitter’s “hacked materials” policy for sharing the story, the company locked then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany out of her account three weeks before the 2020 election. Trump campaign staffer Mike Hahn fired off a message to Twitter demanding her account be unlocked. “At least pretend to care for the next 20 days,” he wrote.
At the White House on Monday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked, in light of the “Twitter Files,” if the decision by Twitter to censor the Post’s revelations was appropriate.
She accused Musk of “haphazardly” pushing a “distraction that is full of old news.”
See Jean-Pierre’s remarks:
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 5, 2022