A lawyer with ties to the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign passed on documents about Russian election meddling to the FBI’s general counsel during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a report Thursday.
James Baker, who was formerly the top lawyer at the FBI, told congressional investigators about the exchange in a closed-door deposition on Wednesday, the Daily Caller reported.
Mr. Baker said he received the documents as well as computer storage devices on Russian hacking from Michael Sussmann, an attorney with Perkins Coie.
Testifying before a joint session of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, Mr. Baker said Mr. Sussmann approached him. The contact was initiated before the FBI and Justice Department applied for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant for key Trump campaign figure Carter Page, according to the Daily Caller’s report.
Mr. Baker was instrumental in obtaining the warrants for Mr. Page.
Reportedly, Mr. Baker told lawmakers it was unusual that he was contacted by Mr. Sussmann and it only happened once.
After the Daily Caller report surfaced, one House Judiciary Committee member, Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican, said Mr. Baker’s testimony was “explosive.”
“Some of the things that were shared were explosive in nature,” Mr. Meadows said in a Fox News interview. “The witness confirmed that things were done in an abnormal fashion. That’s extremely troubling.”
Perkins Coie was key in funding the salacious anti-Trump dossier compiled by opposition research firm Fusion GPS. In April 2016, Perkins Coie connected Fusion GPS with the DNC and Clinton campaign to compile the dossier, which was shared with the FBI later that year.
A Perkins Coie spokesperson released a statement saying Mr. Sussmann worked in the Department of Justice as a cybercrime prosecutor for both Democratic and Republican administrations and is regularly retained by clients to handle cybersecurity matters.
“When Sussmann met with Mr. Baker on behalf of a client, it was not connected to the firm’s representation of the Hillary Clinton Campaign, the DNC or any Political Law Group client,” the statement said.