A former FBI official testified to Congress on Wednesday that a lawyer with the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign gave him information regarding Russia meddling in the 2016 election.
James Baker, who was a lawyer for the FBI up until he resigned in May, said Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann contacted him before the 2016 presidential election and turned over documents and a computer storage device with information on Russian hacking, sources told Fox News.
Baker testified that he received the information as federal investigators prepared a surveillance warrant for Trump’s foreign-policy adviser Carter Page.
The FBI filed the surveillance application in October, a month before the election, saying it believes ‘that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government’, according to the Guardian.
Page denies the allegations against him telling CNN in a July interview that the FBI’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Fisa) court was ‘so ridiculous it’s beyond words’. Page has not been charged with any crime related to the FBI’s investigation.
Fox News reports that Baker testified on Wednesday that Sussmann reaching out to him with information on the probe was unusual and it was the ‘only time it happened’.
Perkins Coie is the same law firm behind a dossier that contained allegations about Trump’s campaign possible connection to the Russian government. Perkins Coie hired the Washington-based research firm Fusion GPS to conduct the research.
Fusion GPS then hired British ex-spy Christopher Steele to compile the dossier. Memos from it were handed over to the FBI during the summer before the election.
Perkins Coie released a statement on Thursday saying Sussmann’s contact was not connected to the firm’s representation of the DNC or Clinton’s campaign.
‘Prior to joining Perkins Coie, Michael Sussmann served as a cybercrime prosecutor in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice during both Republican and Democratic administrations. As a result, Sussmann is regularly retained by clients with complex cybersecurity matters,’ the law firm said in a statement.
‘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.’
Fox reports that two Republican lawmakers said that after Baker testified he gave ‘explosive’ closed-door testimony detailing how the Russian meddling investigation was handled in a ‘abnormal fashion’ and reflected ‘political bias’.