“In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppressing information important to the public dialogue, he was excited from Twitter today,” Musk tweeted Tuesday.
Musk added that he asked Baker before his firing about the events surrounding the laptop suppression scandal and that the lawyer’s explanation was “unconvincing.”
Baker, a former top FBI lawyer, was discovered to be secretly vetting the internal Twitter documents before they could be reviewed by journalists, leading to a delay in the release of more material related to the company’s censorship scandal.
“On Friday, the first installment of the Twitter files was published here. We expected to publish more over the weekend. Many wondered why there was a delay,” independent journalist Matt Taibbi tweeted on Tuesday.
“We can now tell you part of the reason why. 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 added.
Taibbi further revealed that former Wall Street Journal and New York Times writer Bari Weiss is also involved in reviewing the social media giant’s internal documents related to The Post’s Hunter Biden story and that it was her who discovered Baker’s involvement, which Musk was unaware of, according to Taibbi.
“The process for producing the “Twitter Files” involved delivery to two journalists (Bari Weiss and me) via a lawyer close to new management. However, after the initial batch, things became complicated,” Taibbi said.
He added that Weiss discovered “that the person in charge of releasing the files was someone named Jim.
“When she called to ask ‘Jim’s’ last name, the answer came back: ‘Jim Baker.’”
Taibbi added in a tweet, “ ‘My jaw hit the floor,’ says Weiss.”
He said the first batch of files both reporters received was marked, “Spectra Baker Emails.”
Baker “is a controversial figure,” Taibbi wrote.
“He has been something of a Zelig of FBI controversy dating back to 2016, from the Steele Dossier to the Alfa-Server mess. He resigned in 2018 after an investigation into leaks to the press.
“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 tweeted.
Baker was previously general counsel for the FBI under former Director James Comey and a key figure in the bureau’s investigation into false claims of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
During his time at the FBI, Baker worked with fiercely anti-Trump FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
After leaving the bureau in 2018, Baker reportedly found himself under criminal investigation for allegedly leaking materials to reporters.
Baker has stood by his conduct while at the FBI and with regard to the Russia probe.
This summer, Baker was also a star witness for special counsel John Durham in his case against former Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann, who was found not guilty in May of lying to the FBI.
In addition, Baker has been linked to Mother Jones reporter David Corn, who broke the news on the existence of the Steele Dossier, a document compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele loaded with unproven claims about Trump.
Baker allegedly communicated with Corn in the weeks leading up to the November 2016 presidential election before Corn reported on the existence of the document Oct. 31, 2016.
Twitter tapped Baker to help lead its legal team in June 2020, a month after the social-media company generated controversy for labeling two Trump tweets claiming that mail-in ballots will lead to a “rigged election” as promoting misinformation.
Baker’s axing by Musk comes after Taibbi revealed internal documents showing the lawyer and other top Twitter execs deliberating over what to do about The Post’s October 2020 story on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop and the first son’s alleged influence-peddling schemes it revealed.
Twitter moved to block the story under its “hacked materials” policy without any evidence of a hack.
The company even suspended the accounts of those who tried to share the allegations, including former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s account, for linking to The Post’s reporting on the scandal.
“Hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that it wasn’t going to hold. But no one had the guts to reverse it,” an ex-employee told Taibbi.
The “Twitter Files,” as Taibbi called the exposé, showed that even inside Twitter, the move to block The Post’s bombshell story raised serious concerns over the company serving as a censor for the Biden campaign.
Taibbi’s reporting included an exchange between Baker and former Twitter Vice President of Global Communications Brandon Borrman about the decision to censor The Post’s reporting.
Borrman, referring to Twitter’s “hacked materials” policy, asked Baker, “Can we truthfully claim that this is part of the policy?”
Baker responds that “caution is warranted,” suggesting The Post’s story should be censored.
Taibbi said on Tuesday that he and Weiss were back reviewing the files.
“The next installment of ‘The Twitter Files’ will appear @bariweiss. Stay tuned,” Taibbi concluded the string.
Musk, the world’s richest man, finalized a deal to purchase Twitter last month and has repeatedly insisted full disclosure was needed to determine why the company decided to block The Post’s reporting on President Biden’s son just weeks before the 2020 election.
The 51-year-old billionaire has vowed to turn the social media platform into a bastion of free speech, and he’s teased the release of the internal files for several days, insisting that the “public deserves to know what really happened.”
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