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Top FBI officials were ‘quite worried’ Comey would appear to be blackmailing Trump

Senior FBI officials were concerned then director James Comey would appear to be blackmailing then President-elect Trump – using tactics notoriously associated with J.Edgar Hoover – when he attended a fateful Jan. 6, 2017, meeting at which he informed the real estate magnate about allegations he had consorted with prostitutes in Moscow, according to Jim Baker, the bureau’s chief counsel at the time.

“We were quite worried about the Hoover analogies, and we were determined not to have such a disaster happen on our watch,” said Jim Baker, then the FBI’s top lawyer in an interview with the Yahoo News podcast Skullduggery. But he and Comey determined the bureau had an obligation to tell Trump of the uncorroborated allegations because “the press has it; it’s about to come out. You should be alerted to that fact.”

Baker’s comments came during an interview in which he shed new light on the internal bureau debates over how to handle the Russia investigation in its early stages and how much to tell Trump about it. In the podcast interview, Baker also pledged to cooperate with a new investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, emphasizing that he believes he and his FBI colleagues did nothing wrong.

Attorney General William Barr appointed the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut John Durham this week to conduct the new probe.

“I welcome scrutiny,” said Baker. “I plan to fully cooperate with the department to help them figure out what happened. Because I believe what happened was lawful, at least based on every piece of information that I have.” Read more

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