Former FBI Director James Comey defended the bureau’s top lawyer on Friday, alleging that he is being “attacked for partisan gain.”
Comey spoke out on Twitter in response to recent stories about James A. Baker, his friend and the FBI’s general counsel.
“Sadly, we are now at a point in our political life when anyone can be attacked for partisan gain,” Comey wrote.
“James Baker, who is stepping down as FBI General Counsel, served our country incredibly well for 25 years & deserves better. He is what we should all want our public servants to be.”
Sadly, we are now at a point in our political life when anyone can be attacked for partisan gain. James Baker, who is stepping down as FBI General Counsel, served our country incredibly well for 25 years & deserves better. He is what we should all want our public servants to be.
— James Comey (@Comey) December 23, 2017
Comey appeared to be triggered by a report published by Politico on Friday which insinuated that Baker may have been a source for a reporter at the left-leaning news outlet Mother Jones.
Politico cited congressional Republicans who said that the Justice Department recently provided documents showing that Baker was in touch with Mother Jones’s David Corn in the weeks before the election.
Corn is the reporter who published the Oct. 31, 2016 story quoting Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the infamous Steele dossier.
Though the implication was that Baker was a source for Corn, the reporter denied that the FBI lawyer was a source for the dossier story.
Baker has also been at the center of an internal FBI leak investigation. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Comey’s pal was under scrutiny for revealing information about surveillance techniques of an unnamed email provider.
The Post’s report downplayed the allegations against Baker. The newspaper’s sources said that Baker has been the victim of a petty interagency dispute.
The Post also reported that Baker is being reassigned by FBI Director Christopher Wray. The leak investigation had nothing to do with Baker’s reassignment, FBI sources claimed to The Post.
Baker is the third high-ranking law enforcement official to have been reassigned over the past few months, amid Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Bruce Ohr was stripped of his title of deputy assistant attorney general earlier this month after it was discovered that he met prior to the election with Steele. Ohr also met after the election with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier.
WATCH FOR MORE ON FUSION GPS:
Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked as a researcher for Fusion GPS during the campaign.
Former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok was demoted in July and removed from Mueller’s Russia investigation. The Justice Department’s inspector general found that Strzok had exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages with an FBI lawyer during the campaign. Strzok led the Russia investigation and was a top investigator on the Clinton email probe.