More details have come to light on something we talked about here a while back: that former FBI General Counsel James Baker thought Hillary’s use of a private server was “appalling” and “alarming” and that he “argued with others about why they thought she shouldn’t be charged.”
Investigative reporter Sara A. Carter has obtained Baker’s testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in which he said he believed her use of her own server for classified emails while she was Secretary of State was enough to secure an indictment to possibly charge her for violations of the Espionage Act, for mishandling sensitive government documents. He testified that he argued about this over “a period of time” with senior colleagues at the Bureau, including then-Director James Comey. They apparently went round and round about this.
Under questioning from Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, he described his experience of reviewing a classified binder that contained examples of both sensitive and highly classified materials Hillary had transmitted over her “semi-secured” server. And, yes, he was alarmed and appalled by what he saw.
When Ratcliffe asked Baker if this was what he had also told Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Baker said it was.
So why did Baker finally change his mind about charging Hillary, shortly before Comey announced that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring the case? (Comey already had produced the draft of an exoneration in which the legal term “grossly negligent” was changed to the seemingly lighter “extremely careless.”) After a lot of back and forth, Baker’s colleagues convinced him that there was a lack of evidence to prove Clinton’s “intention” in mishandling the classified documents.
Wow, they sure must have applied a lot of pressure, because “intention” doesn’t have to be proved in such a case and surely he –- all of them –- knew this. (Numerous legal experts have come forward since that time to explain it to us non-lawyers.) Baker said he argued with them about whether or not she should face indictment until the very end.
(NOTE: This whole discussion really should have been moot, because the FBI was supposed to turn over what it had found to the Justice Department, where the attorney general, not Comey, was supposed to make the determination of whether or not to indict. The FBI was really overstepping its bounds, especially with Comey’s very public pronouncement. But I suppose in the end it hardly mattered, as no doubt “the fix was in” with AG Loretta Lynch, too.)
When Ratcliffe asked Baker if he still found Hillary’s mishandling of the classified material “appalling,” he said, “Yes.”
Recall that Comey stood at a podium in front of TV cameras and said that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring the case against Hillary. Ratcliffe had this moment in mind when he asked Baker if he (Baker) was a reasonable prosecutor.
“Not anymore,” he answered. “I’m not a prosecutor anymore.”
Here’s the full story with more verbatim testimony. (There’s one little glitch in the story: for some reason, it describes some events as taking place in 2017 that actually occurred in 2016, when Hillary was a candidate for President. For example, Comey publicly exonerated Hillary on July 5, 2016, not 2017. But you knew that.)