James Baker On 2016 Election: ‘We Did What We Thought The Law Required’ | MTP Daily | MSNBC
James Baker On 2016 Election: ‘We Did What We Thought The Law Required’ | MTP Daily | MSNBC James Baker On 2016 Election: ‘We Did What We Thought The Law Required’ | MTP Daily | MSNBCJoin here now on set by James Baker, he was the FBI. General counsel he’s also a former Federal prosecutor.. How are you let the FBI tweeted? My campaign for president was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American politics. A really bad situation. Treason means long jail sentences and this was treason well, it doesn’t meet the technical definition of trees, not at war with somebody, and all of that so I can set that aside and there’s been no conclusion on this fine issue. Did you feel targeted by that tree? It probably was intended to cover me and my behavior, but I feel 100 confident that there was no treason back. There was no coup that there was nothing done. That was illegal, immoral or unethical, at least in my experience, and I would have not convinced such activity in hindsight now that you even read the Mueller report you’ve seen. All of that is there anything you would have done differently. I would have run screaming from the building Taylor jokingly, but this whole thing with traumatic and just as I was listening to that, you know you guys, you went through the various things that I worked on. This was horrible. This whole thing was terrible and starting with the Clinton investigation, and I’m through with this, was not something that we relished doing was not. Something we wanted to do was something we felt that we had a duty to do if the FBI was under this I mean you look at it now in the president is calling the FBI the entire time, with working on behalf of Obama and Clinton. The Clinton campaign to this day believe the FBI was somehow putting the thumb in it against her campaign, giving the way that investigation is, I understand, you say, run screaming from the building, but do you in hindsight feel like the FBI mishandled? 2016? Honestly, I did we make mistakes, it’s an Enterprise of human beings trying to do their best under very difficult circumstances. Could we have done things differently and better? Maybe, but honestly, I’m not sure how I thought a lot about that and I’d. I just don’t know that we could have come up with a better solution with respect to what we did. We did what we thought the law required us to do. We did what we thought our obligations. American people required us to do that. The one of the reasons one of the products for opening up the investigation into president for the Comey firing that he was somehow following directions or perhaps was doing it at the behest. Is it the is it? Is it the information that came out of the meeting with the Russian Ambassador that triggered this it’s out of the way with the combination of those two things that made you guys? That was the predicate for the first. What I want to confirm what precisely was done in terms of the investigative investigations they were open. So let me just put that to the side. I thought we know for a fact that there was an investigation open up. I don’t know what was confirmed or not, so I’m just not going to go there. Okay, but but having said that, we were concerned about what was going on here and those events. Didn’T you happen in a vacuum? They happened against a backdrop. We were looking at what it happened. We were looking at what Russia was up to and generally and the threat they pose. We were looking at what they were trying to do with our election, and then we were looking at the event. You had all the interactions with the president, the leading up to the firing and then the firing – and I felt confident at that point time, that our investigative activities were lawful, inappropriate. The idea of a wire was a more serious idea. If we speculated it didn’t go to you asking you for the legality of that well went to me asking my opinion about it, I’ll catch included, legality, as well as the Practical and operational significance of it, and we took it deadly seriously. This was not like a fun light-hearted time in the in the bureau in a department, so we took it very seriously. We discuss it seriously, but I thought it was a terrible idea from the outset and recommended against it all right. The issue of surveillance of the campaign – I don’t think anybody it doesn’t seem as if there was anybody at Trump Tower that was ever under surveillance is that is that is that, is that a blanket statement that can during the 2016 campaign can be confirmed or not? I can’t remember exactly what the government confirmed about that, but that just talked about the rounds per second, if we’re talking about electronic surveillance and you’re talking about electronic surveillance for the purpose of obtaining political intelligence, another, what the campaign is doing in the campaign right then To my house that never occurred, I I never heard anybody out is that it is that something then that that that’s something that might have been done, I mean, I guess, but anything’s theoretically possible. I don’t believe that that kind of activity was going on either in order to obtain information about the police, cool intentions, strategy of the campaign. What we were up to first got this information. Did you know, did you know it went when this came into? The FBI? Did you know it has been gathered as part of the essentially an opposition research request, first by age, Republican donor and then eventually by the plants that it came in with that information view the material and was it used as Bob first round of evidence or information? If you will more information that had that, we view that I viewed skeptically from the outset, and I was concerned about it and had a jaundiced eye or looked at it with a jaundiced eye play outside. He came to steal, was and had been a source that we thought was reliable. He’S reporting all this information. It looks alarming. We took it seriously, but we trying to vet. It was the steel. Would you have still approve the Carter page fisa warrant without Steele dossier. So, based on my recollection of the facts at the time that are mostly redacted now and then in the application, my answer that question is the answer. Is yes, but I think there was sufficient probable cause in the application, even without that information, I don’t think I should comment on that. I’M not sure what else to government has confirmed, but yeah I just shouldn’t come in on what about other potential applications associate is not that important, not that not nuts are front-and-center for Mueller and his investigators. How important did the FBI view to steal information with a switch that what started the investigation? That’S one of the things I want to try to reassure the American people about. It was the by George Papadopoulos information it with the investigation, started it going and so yeah it was there yeah. We looked at it yeah. We spend resources on trying to vetted, but it was not the centerpiece of everything. Alright, you bring up George Papadopoulos and, and that being the start, and you had a few FBI informant. I believe you had some working for the FBI and also him informant and Stefan Halper. I understand, as an FBI informant what what, if we that was alarming to me to read that that an FBI informant was still serve actively helping your investigation, but also pretending to be a trump Ally, new Cy under that circumstance, perhaps why the president is so paranoid. I understand why people are concerned about the power of the FBI and some of the investigative techniques that we use again without confirming or denying is the specifics of what you’re saying here and point is: what were we trying to do? What were we focus on again? I’M saying it again, we were focused on with the Russians were up to why they were doing it, how they were doing it, we’re trying to gather information about that. We were trying to gather information about politics or protected First Amendment. We don’t do that kind of thing. We are trying to find out what the threat was from this particular foreign power. Do you think we know all the information on what Russia did or do you think the fact that there were 10 instances of potential obstruction that I found that the FBI and Mueller from finding out everything? That’S for sure, would you sign the letter with 900? Former Federal prosecutor is going to bring him making that conclusion. I think I’ll stick to that for the moment, but what I’ve said is that if this is not illegal, it’s true, it’s only reveals a pattern of corruption should be unacceptable in America if we should not accept that kind of behavior from our leaders Alaskan. Finally, about Bill bar here at the end, I think you quite well dilbar. Do you know Bill bar in that interview that choosing a lot of innuendo, but doesn’t it up with any sort of I’ve? I’Ve just got more question appointed attorney of bipartisan credentials to to do a review. Where doesn’t look, like you put a thumb on the scale in the review, which bil-bar should the public believe to me the same bill bar, I mean I’ve known him as an excellent lawyer, a person of high integrity, and I was saying once you once we do – Is much less alarming and I’m somebody who’s in the crosshairs and all the stuff? And I’m saying this so I think we all just need to calm down. The Attorney General of the United States needs to be confident that the intelligence Community, especially the FBI, is acting in a lawful and appropriate way, respect to its use of intelligence authorities. That is just that should be a something we all agree on, and so, if he’s not confident in that yet then he needs to be obtained. The information that will make him confident that make sure that he has the right policies and procedures and play to deal with this kind of situation. Given everything we’ve alerted the country as to what the Russians are up to people are focused on that people are properly worried about what’s going on, but they’ve got us chasing each other and fighting with each other, and I think that’s bad, and I think that’s why I’Ve been urging people not to go down the road of hate with respect to President Trump or his followers, and two work together as Americans in a better way do believe. The president is upholding the Constitution I’ll hold off on that judgment for the moment Timbers. If you’re watching this, that means you’ve checked out our channel. So, thank you not. Do me a favor to subscribe by clicking that button down. There click on any of the video, but if you’re, tired of content that you don’t know anything about where it came from, you don’t have to have that problem with us. Nbc News MSNBC MTP in the Meet the Press mindset right here for you on YouTube, subscribe now. Fmr. FBI General Counsel James Baker joins Chuck Todd to discuss his time at the FBI during the 2016 election.
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James Baker On 2016 Election: ‘We Did What We Thought The Law Required’ | MTP Daily | MSNBC