The first batch of the Twitter Files proved that Twitter executives helped Joe Biden cover up the fact that he lied about not knowing anything about his son Hunter's business dealings. In fact, he not only knew about those dealings but was involved in them," Hans Mahncke, a US investigative journalist and co-host of "Truth Over News" on EpochTV, told Sputnik.
He referred to files originating from Hunter Biden's "laptop from hell" which were made public in October 2020 and then immediately suppressed by Twitter.
On December 2, Musk, who became the owner of the social net platform on October 28, started to release thousands of internal Twitter emails. On November 30, the businessman accused the platform's former leadership of interfering in US elections through content moderation. According to the Musk, the US public deserves to know who was behind the decision to censor the laptop story.
Who is James Baker?
When the bombshell story was published by the New York Post in October 2020, Team Biden and Democrats reportedly asked Twitter to take it down. Judging from the Twitter files, the decision-making process took place behind Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's back.There were heated discussions between the platform's senior operatives Vijaya Gadde, Yoel Roth, Brandon Borrman and Twitter spokesman Trenton Kennedy as to how to justify marking the Hunter Biden story as "unsafe."
At the time, James Baker, Twitter's deputy general counsel, weighed in and said: "I support the conclusion that we need more facts to assess whether the materials were hacked," adding, "it's reasonable for us to assume that they may have been and that caution is warranted."
But that is not all: the same Baker also tried to "vet" the "Twitter Files" which were made accessible by Musk for US journalists Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss. As a result, Baker was sacked by Musk. The businessman announced the exit of the deputy general counsel on December 6, citing "concerns about Baker's possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue."
So, who is James Baker and why does this name sound so familiar? Baker is a former FBI general counsel. An ardent defender of the bureau's Trump-Russia probe, Baker has been featured in the already debunked story of "collusion" between the former president and the Kremlin, DOJ IG Michael Horowitz's 2018 FISA report, and Special Counsel John Durham's probe.
Baker was personally involved in securing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Donald Trump's aide Carter Page, as part of the bureau's 2016/2017 Trump-Russia probe. It later turned out that the process of getting FISA was awash with errors, violations and even forgery by ex-FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith (who pleaded guilty to the felony in August 2020). Eventually, Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Baker also cooperated with ex-Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, charged by Special Counsel John Durham with lying to the FBI in 2021. Some US legal observers called Baker Sussmann's "go-to, speed-dial contact." On September 19, 2016, Sussmann brought then- FBI general counsel data files allegedly confirming "back-channel" cooperation between the Trump Organization and Russia's Alfa Bank. Later, the bureau shredded Sussmann's research as unsubstantiated. After Baker failed to provide Durham with a crucial text message that proved that Sussmann had lied, the former Clinton campaign lawyer was acquitted by a federal jury in May 2022.
In May 2018, FBI top lawyer Baker resigned. According to the US press, he was reportedly investigated as part of a DoJ review into the potential leaking of classified information to reporters. Twitter hired Baker as deputy general counsel, and he then became instrumental in suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story on the platform.
Was Twitter in Bed With the FBI?
Still, Twitter's cooperation with the FBI wasn't limited to hiring an ex-bureau legal counsel. Mahncke pointed out that separate documents apparently prove that the platform's leadership maintained ties with the agency.
"So far the Twittergate emails do not include any direct evidence of FBI interference in the 2020 election or in shutting down Twitter accounts," said Mahncke. "However, Twitter's recently departed Head of Safety, Joel Roth, swore in an affidavit that he was told by the FBI to expect hacked Hunter Biden materials to be released. This then happened with the New York Post story of October 14, 2020 and Twitter used the FBI's warning as an excuse to censor the story. That fact that the FBI unlawfully intervened in this matter will probably lead to a House of Representatives investigation. There is also the case brought by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri, Jeff Landry and Eric Schmitt against Biden and the FBI for suppressing free speech. That case has a good chance of success."The GOP has long been monitoring instances of the FBI acting in the Democratic Party's favor and to the Republicans' detriment. On July 25, 2022, Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley accused FBI officials of deliberately disregarding the agency's guidelines to pursue "politically charged investigations" related to the conservatives and Team Trump, in particular.
On August 8, 2022, the bureau conducted a sweeping raid of Mar-a-Lago, the residence of former US president Donald Trump, which triggered suspicions among US legal observers that the raid wasn't justified.
In September 2022, an FBI whistleblower submitted a complaint to the Office of Special Counsel alleging that the federal agency and Department of Justice (DoJ) misused SWAT teams to make misdemeanor arrests of MAGA supporters involved in the January 6, 2021 protests in DC.
"The FBI will have a ton to answer for," Techno Fog, a nom de plume for a US lawyer, writer and blogger, told Sputnik. "As you observed, the FBI's wrongful acts always seem to disadvantage Republicans. The latest information only proves that. The challenge for House Republicans will be getting any type of new information from the FBI, which is known for stonewalling and obstructing Congressional investigations. Remember, this is the same FBI who misled and stalled Congress about much of the Russiagate investigation. It took us until this past year, due to prosecutions from Special Counsel Durham, for the public to find out just how bad FBI leadership behaved during that inquiry."What's Next? Will Heads Roll?
Following Taibbi's dump, US mainstream media has chosen to act precisely as they did two years ago when the Hunter Biden laptop story emerged: they tried to pretend that the Twitter Files are not a big deal. For its part, Biden's White House branded the disclosure "not healthy" and claimed that "it won't do anything to help a single American improve their lives."
"As you've seen, there's been a strategy across the US media to largely ignore the latest Twitter story," Techno Fog said. "Those media companies who have picked up on the story aren't reporting the merits, but are instead downplaying the story and attacking both Elon Musk and Matt Taibbi."Still, some of the Twittergate consequences have already been felt, according to Techno Fog. First, the Twitter employees involved in the decision to remove Hunter Biden's story have mostly been sacked. Second, GOP Representative James Comer from Kentucky tweeted on December 6 that he is requesting former senior Twitter employees Vijaya Gadde, Yoel Roth and James Baker appear before the House GOP Oversight Committee in the 118th Congress."
These individuals were critical to Twitter's decision to censor legitimate facts ahead of an American election," Comer underscored.
More to follow, according to the lawyer: "the Twitter story might spur investigations by the incoming Republican majority in the House of Representatives, who are already looking forward to investigating members of the Biden administration for suppressing speech on social media."
Commenting on the other potential consequences of the Twittergate for former Twitter seniors, Mahncke outlined two major issues.
"First, there is the question of whether these former executives will be able to claim their golden parachutes of millions of dollars of severance pay, not to mention whether Baker breached any of his duties when he apparently acted against the express instructions of Musk," the investigative journalist said. "Second, there is the question of whether their actions amounted to undeclared in-kind contributions to Biden's 2020 campaign. The first is largely a civil matter and the parties will probably reach some kind of private deal. The second is far more interesting as it involves the public domain and the intricacies of campaign finance law. I do not know the answer but I know that a number of highly experienced campaign finance lawyers are working on that question right now."While the Biden administration branded Elon Musk's bombshell dump "unhealthy," the apparent collusion between the Democratic officials, FBI operatives and Big Tech to censor their opponents and suppress the truth appears to be far unhealthier for US democracy and its already polarized society. Apparently, a comprehensive investigation into purported 2020 election interference and potential government corruption could help "a single American improve their lives."