Twitter owner Elon Musk has confirmed that James Baker, the company’s deputy general counsel and former FBI general counsel, was “exited” from the company on Dec. 6 amid concern about Baker’s “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,” Musk wrote on Twitter, without offering any more details on Baker’s exit.
Musk was responding to an article written by Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor and political commentator. Baker hasn’t issued a public comment about his apparent departure from the social media firm.
The action by Musk came days after he provided internal Twitter information to independent journalist Matt Taibbi, who published details about the social media platform’s decision to suppress and censor the New York Post’s report about the contents of a laptop belonging Hunter Biden in October 2020.
Minutes after Musk confirmed Baker’s departure, 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 Dec. 6. “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 against former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who had met with Baker in 2016 and, according to Durham, allegedly lied to the FBI lawyer 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,” Jordan added. “Coordination?”
Republicans on Dec. 6 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 NY 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 over the recent 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 assertions 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 didn’t provide those facts.
Baker didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.