It turns out that John Durham, the prosecutor chosen by Attorney General William Barr to lead the probe into the origins of the Trump/Russia Collusion investigation isn’t so new to the case after all.
Real Clear Investigations’ Eric Felten published an excerpt from former FBI General Counsel James Baker’s October 3, 2018 closed testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees. Baker is currently under criminal investigation for possible illegal leaking of classified information to the press.
During questioning by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), it was revealed that John Durham is the prosecutor assigned to Baker’s case.
The following partial transcript (via Real Clear Investigations) from Baker’s October 3, 2018 testimony shows how this was discovered.
Note: David Corn is the Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones. He was one of the first journalists to write an article about the Steele Dossier in October 2016. Throughout the summer and fall of 2016, the FBI received various versions of the dossier from different sources. One of those came from David Corn.
Rep. Jordan: Tell me about your relationship with David Corn.
Baker: David is a friend of mine.
Jordan: Tell me about that. A close friend? Long-time friend?
Baker: Long-time friend.
Jordan: When did you first meet Mr. Corn?
Baker: I don’t specifically remember. A long time ago, though.
Jordan: Years ago?
Baker: Years and years and years ago, yeah. Our kids carpooled together. We carpooled with them when our kids were little
Jordan: Prior to the election of – Presidential election of 2016. How many times did you talk with David Corn in the weeks and months prior to election day?
Baker: I don’t remember.
Jordan: Is it fair to say you did talk with Corn?
Baker: Yes, I did, but I just don’t remember how many [times].
Jordan: So did you talk to Mr. Corn about anything that the FBI was working on? Specifically the now infamous Steele dossier?”
Baker’s lawyer, Dan Levin: (interrupts) One second. (Levin and Baker speak privately.)
Levin: I cannot let [Baker] answer these questions right now. You may or may not know, he’s been the subject of a leak investigation which is still – a criminal leak investigation that’s still active at the Justice Department. I’m sorry. I’m cutting off any discussion about conversations with reporters.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC): You’re saying he’s under criminal investigation? That’s why you’re not letting him answer?
Jordan: There is an ongoing investigation by whom?
Levin: The Justice Department.
Jordan: I mean, is the inspector general looking at this or is this—
Levin: No. It’s Mr. John Durham, a prosecutor…I don’t want him talking about conversations he’s had with reporters because I don’t know what the questions are and I don’t know what the answers are right now. Given that there is an ongoing investigation of him for leaks which the Department [of Justice] has not closed, I’m not comfortable letting him answer questions.
This particular excerpt from Baker’s testimony was disclosed in January, and at that point, the name John Durham would have been meaningless to most of us. It is good news that John Durham is already familiar with at least some aspects of the case. I would even say it’s likely he’s been working on the larger investigation for longer than the public has been led to believe.