A former top FBI lawyer said there was concern at the bureau that then-FBI Director James Comey was trying to blackmail then-President-elect Donald Trump with the notorious Steele dossier.
On Tuesday’s Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” James Baker described the atmosphere as “quite worried” after Comey met with Trump on Jan. 6, 2017, shortly before his inauguration. Baker says the way Comey threw the dossier into Trump’s face, it was difficult not to draw “analogies” to the behavior of FBI founding Director J. Edgar Hoover, who ruled federal law enforcement for nearly 50 years.
“We were quite worried about the Hoover analogies, and we were determined not to have such a disaster happen on our watch,” Baker told Yahoo, referring to how Hoover successfully remained in control of the FBI because he knew the secret lives of American presidents.
Baker says although he can’t remember when he first learned of the dossier’s existence he believed the FBI needed to take the document “seriously” and were “obligated to deal with it.” Baker admits the bureau always had doubt about the dossier’s authenticity, and says Trump needed to know about it because the document was “about to be disclosed to the press.” BuzzFeed published the salacious, arguably dubious details Jan. 10, 2017.