Special Counsel Team Gives Update on Evidence Not Offered by DOJ Inspector General’s Office

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
January 29, 2022 Updated: January 30, 2022

Special counsel John Durham’s team, in a court filing on Jan. 28, offered additional context on a previous filing that described how the team learned of evidence in the possession of the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) that was seemingly withheld from investigators.

The evidence, which includes two cellphones used by former FBI general counsel James Baker and forensic reports analyzing the phones, only came to light in January.

Baker, who was the subject of a criminal leak investigation for “unauthorized disclosures to the media” but left his position without being charged, is a key player in the prosecution of longtime Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann, who Durham’s team charged with lying to the FBI.

In the Jan. 25 filing in Sussmann’s case, Durham’s team said it asked the OIG for materials last year but wasn’t told of the phones and forensic reports. The team “learned for the first time” that the OIG had possession of the Baker-related materials, the team told the court, without disclosing how it learned this.

In the new filing, entered on Jan. 28, the team said it wanted to provide additional context.

The OIG, after reviewing the earlier filing, notified the team that in 2018, in connection with a different criminal investigation led by then-Acting U.S. Attorney Durham, an OIG special agent providing support for the investigation informed a prosecutor working with Durham that the OIG had requested custody of some FBI phones.

OIG records show the phones included those used by Baker. The records also show that the agent held a conference call with Durham and members of the investigative team,” during which the cellphones likely were discussed,” according to the filing.

“Special Counsel Durham has no current recollection of that conference call, nor does Special Counsel Durham currently recall knowing about the OIG’s possession of the former FBI General Counsel’s cellphones before January 2022,” Durham’s team said.

The filing also revealed that it was the FBI that informed Durham’s team that OIG was in possession of the phones, prompting the team to ask the OIG about them.

The forensic reports on the phones were provided to Sussmann’s lawyers. An additional forensic examination done by the OIG, ordered by Durham’s team, was conducted in January and the results were recently provided to the team, and will be produced to Sussmann’s lawyers after the team reviews them.

After going over the 2018 investigation that Durham led, the special counsel’s office also requested and plans to review the other FBI-linked phones in the OIG’s possession to see if any materials relate to the Sussmann case.

Correction: Durham was confirmed as a U.S. attorney on Feb. 16, 2018. The Epoch Times regrets the error.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.