By Jack Phillips
Twitter owner Elon Musk confirmed that one of its top officials, James Baker—a former FBI general counsel—was “exited” from the company on Tuesday amid concerns that were raised about his “possible role in suppression of information.”
“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. Musk did not offer any more details on Baker’s exit or what role he played at the firm.
Musk, the new owner of Twitter, was responding to an article penned by Jonathan Turley, the George Washington University law professor and political commentator, who noted that Baker was a former FBI general counsel. Baker has not issued a public comment about his apparent departure from the social media firm.
It came days after Musk provided internal Twitter information to journalist Matt Taibbi, who had published details about the social media platform’s decision to essentially censor the New York Post’s report about Hunter Biden’s laptop in October 2020.
And minutes after Musk confirmed Baker’s departure on Tuesday, Taibbi wrote: “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.”
Taibbi indicated that Baker was in charge of reviewing and releasing the “Twitter Files.”
“The news that Baker was reviewing the ‘Twitter files’ surprised everyone involved, to say the least. New Twitter chief Elon Musk acted quickly to ‘exit’ Baker Tuesday,” Taibbi also wrote on Tuesday evening. “Reporters resumed searches through Twitter Files material—a lot of it—today. The next installment of ‘The Twitter Files’ will appear” in the near future, he wrote.
Baker, notably, was referenced in special counsel John Durham’s court filings in a case targeting former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who had met with Baker in 2016 and, according to Durham, allegedly lied to Baker about who he was working for when he relayed information about a secret communications channel between the Russian government and then-candidate Donald Trump. He was hired by Twitter in 2020 as the firm’s deputy general counsel and vice president after leaving the FBI.
Hours before Musk’s post on Twitter, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the likely incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, raised speculation about Baker’s role at Twitter.
“FBI Agent Timothy Thibault tried to shut down an avenue of the Hunter Biden investigation,” he wrote, referring to alleged whistleblower testimony about Thibault, which the former official categorically denied in a statement to The Epoch Times earlier this year. “Then, Twitter hires former FBI General Counsel James Baker who helps give the company an excuse to suppress the story,” added Jordan. “Coordination?”
Republicans on Tuesday also issued a letter (pdf) to Baker, which suggested that he still worked at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, and asked him to contact the House Oversight Committee and appear before the panel during the next Congress.
Citing new information released by Twitter, Baker allegedly “played a key advisory role in the decision to censor” the New York Post’s report about Hunter Biden’s overseas business deals ahead of the 2020 General Election.
It added that Baker “wrote in an email—after Twitter censored the laptop story—that ‘we need more facts to assess whether the materials were hacked’” and said Baker had “advised that the story should remain censored, nonetheless.”
The letter was referring to new information posted by Taibbi the past weekend, which showed Twitter managers moved to block the NY Post’s report about Hunter Biden’s laptop without then-CEO Jack Dorsey’s knowledge. Taibbi published alleged internal emails that were given to him by Musk showing Twitter executives debating on what to do with the NY Post’s report.
Ultimately, Twitter blocked sharing of the NY Post story amid allegations that it was part of a Russian disinformation plot, while the newspaper was blocked from accessing its account for more than two weeks. It was later determined that details of the story and information sourced from the laptop were authentic.
At the same time, Taibbi’s posts revealed that Twitter’s management was responding to requests from then-candidate Joe Biden’s campaign team, who appeared to be communicating with the social media company’s executives via back channels.
“I support the conclusion that we need more facts to assess whether the materials were hacked,” Baker wrote in October 2020, according to a screenshot posted by Taibbi last weekend. “At this stage, however, it is reasonable for us to assume that they may have been, and caution is warranted.”
Baker added that “there are some facts that indicate that materials may have been hacked,” according to the screenshot. He did not provide those facts.