Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter June 16, 2020 8:38 AM ET Font Size:

  • Twitter has hired former FBI general counsel James Baker, the firm announced Monday. 
  • Baker was the FBI’s top lawyer during Crossfire Hurricane, the investigation into the Trump campaign. 
  • In that role, Baker supported the decision to obtain surveillance warrants against Carter Page. A Justice Department watchdog has found that the FBI improperly relied on the Steele dossier in order to obtain those warrants. 

Twitter announced Monday that it has hired the former FBI lawyer who approved key steps taken during the investigation into the Trump campaign, including the decisions to surveil former campaign aide Carter Page and to use an FBI agent to secretly monitor Michael Flynn during a national security briefing for the campaign.

James Baker will serve as deputy general counsel of Twitter, said Sean Edgett, the general counsel of the social media company.

Baker “is committed to our core principles of an open internet and freedom of expression,” Edgett said in a statement. Baker “brings experience navigating complex, global issues with a principled approach.”

Baker joins Twitter amid a battle with President Donald Trump over censorship of conservative users of the platform.

Trump signed an executive order on May 28 that calls to remove social media companies’ shield against liability if they engage in censorship. He took the step after Twitter fact-checked two of Trump’s tweets regarding mail-in voting ballots.

As the FBI’s top attorney, Baker reviewed and approved decisions that the bureau took during Crossfire Hurricane, the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.

A Justice Department inspector general’s report on the investigation said that Baker approved the decision to seek Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Page, who served on the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team.

“Baker told us that he also remembered being satisfied at the time that there was probable cause articulated in the draft application to believe that Carter Page was an agent of a foreign power,” the IG report says. (RELATED: Steele Dossier Played A ‘Central And Essential Role’ In Decision To Seek FISA)

The IG ultimately found that the FBI committed at least 17 “significant” errors and omissions in its applications to surveil Page. Many of the omissions involved the Steele dossier.

The FBI relied heavily on information from Christopher Steele, a former British spy hired by the Clinton campaign and by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.