May 14, 2019

REALCLEARINVESTIGATIONS: New Russiagate Prober Has Haunted FBI for Months.

John Durham, the prosecutor tapped by Attorney General William Barr to investigate how Trump-Russia allegations emerged and spread within federal law enforcement, has already been looking into whether the FBI’s former top lawyer, James Baker, illegally leaked to reporters.

In fact, the U.S. attorney from Connecticut appears to have begun that work more than seven months ago, to judge from an underreported transcript of an October congressional interview with Baker. The Baker interview, at which Durham was not present, suggests that the prosecutor nevertheless has some people very worried.

Baker testified about the Trump-Russia affair on Oct. 3 before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. . . .

Suddenly, Baker’s lawyer, Dan Levin, jumped in: “One second,” he said before he and his client had a conversation off the record.

When the microphones were back on, Levin declared he would “not let [Baker] answer these questions right now. You may or may not know, he’s been the subject of a leak investigation which is still – a criminal leak investigation that’s still active at the Justice Department.” And so Levin concluded, “I’m sorry. I’m cutting off any discussion about conversations with reporters.”

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows wanted to make clear what Baker’s lawyer was claiming: “You’re saying he’s under criminal investigation? That’s why you’re not letting him answer?”

“Yes.”

Levin and the lawmakers sparred a bit over whether Baker was invoking his Fifth Amendment rights, and the congressmen finally got around to asking who was leading this criminal probe:

“There is an ongoing investigation by whom?” Jordan said.

“The Justice Department,” Levin responded.

“I mean, is the inspector general looking at this or is this—”

“No,” said Levin, “it’s Mr. John Durham, a prosecutor.”

The specter of Durham haunts the rest of the interview. Baker can’t talk about what he told his old friend David Corn in their conversations about the dossier because it would put Baker in legal jeopardy.

Time and again, when Baker was asked questions about reporters – even hypothetical questions about FBI policy regarding contacts with the press, Levin said, “I’m not going to allow him to answer that question” or “I am not going let him answer any questions about leaks.”

Read the whole thing.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.