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Twitter boss Elon Musk has made another major personnel change at the platform involving the FBI’s former top lawyer, James Baker, who was serving as the company’s deputy general counsel.
According to reports, Baker, an instrumental figure in the so-called “Russiagate” scandal that embroiled then-GOP presidential nominee and later President Donald Trump, was escorted out of Twitter on Monday after Musk discovered he was also largely responsible for the platform’s decision to censor reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop ahead of the 2020 election, during which his father, Joe Biden, defeated Trump.
The revelations about Baker’s role regarding the laptop were first disclosed by journalist Matt Taibbi in a lengthy “Twitter Files” dump late last week after being provided internal company communications by Musk. Part of the information revealed by Taibbi involved senior Twitter executives and how they decided to deal with what were scandalous and disturbing revelations not just about Hunter Biden but also his presidential candidate father — all of which were first reported by the New York Post in October 2020.
“In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today,” Musk tweeted on Monday.
In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 6, 2022
Fox Business Network noted: “Baker was involved in discussions about whether the laptop falls under Twitter’s ‘hacked materials’ policy.
“I support the conclusion that we need more facts to assess whether the materials were hacked,” Baker noted in one email chain. “At this stage, however, it’s reasonable for us to assume that they may have been and that caution is warranted.”
28. To which former Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker again seems to advise staying the non-course, because “caution is warranted”: pic.twitter.com/tg4D0gLWI6
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 3, 2022
An article Musk shared in his tweet from Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley noted that Baker was “at the center of the Twitter suppression scandal.” He also wrote: “Baker has been featured repeatedly in the Russian investigations launched by the Justice Department, including the hoax involving the Russian Alfa Bank.”
Several notable conservative figures and journalists responded to the firing.
Editor-in-chief of The Federalist, Mollie Hemingway, tweeted, “James Baker, implicated in the Russia Collusion hoax that so damaged the country, now gone from Twitter.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) indicated that Baker should be brought before Congress.
“Republicans should call Baker, former FBI lawyer before he went to @Twitter, to testify on possible FBI attempts to coerce @Twitter into election interference,” he tweeted.
Commentator Ian Miles Cheong tweeted, “Cleaning house. There should be no space for those who would seek to undermine Twitter’s role in the dissemination of truth over establishment narratives.”
In a Monday Twitter thread, Taibbi suggested that one major reason for Baker’s firing is that he vetted the first “Twitter Files” batch without Musk’s knowledge.
On Friday, the first installment of the Twitter files was published here. We expected to publish more over the weekend. Many wondered why there was a delay,” Taibbi tweeted. “We can now tell you part of the reason why. On Tuesday, Twitter Deputy General Counsel (and former FBI General Counsel) Jim Baker was fired. Among the reasons? Vetting the first batch of ‘Twitter Files’ – without knowledge of new management.”
We can now tell you part of the reason why. On Tuesday, Twitter Deputy General Counsel (and former FBI General Counsel) Jim Baker was fired. Among the reasons? Vetting the first batch of “Twitter Files” – without knowledge of new management.
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 6, 2022
“The process for producing the ‘Twitter Files’ involved delivery to two journalists (Bari Weiss and me) via a lawyer close to new management. However, after the initial batch, things became complicated,” Taibbi continued.
“Over the weekend, while we both dealt with obstacles to new searches, it was @bariweiss who discovered that the person in charge of releasing the files was someone named Jim. When she called to ask ‘Jim’s’ last name, the answer came back: ‘Jim Baker.’ ‘My jaw hit the floor,’ says Weiss,” he continued.
“Baker is a controversial figure. He has been something of a Zelig of FBI controversies dating back to 2016, from the Steele Dossier to the Alfa-Server mess. He resigned in 2018 after an investigation into leaks to the press,” the journalist continued.
“Reporters resumed searches through Twitter Files material – a lot of it – today. The next installment of ‘The Twitter Files’ will appear. Stay tuned,” he added.