On Tuesday, Twitter owner Elon Musk fired the company’s deputy general counsel and vice president James Baker, who reportedly helped hold back a story about incriminating material found on Hunter Biden’s laptop just prior to the 2020 presidential election.
Baker, a former member of the FBI’s general counsel, also had a role in spreading the Steele dossier’s bogus claims of Trump-Russia ties, the Washington Times reported. This made his efforts to suppress potentially harmful information on Democrat Joe Biden particularly irksome to conservatives and free speech advocates.
“In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today,” Musk said in a tweet.
Baker was sacked after Musk revealed Twitter’s internal deliberations ahead of the decision to ban the laptop story published on October 14, 2020, by the New York Post.
Musk gave access to Twitter’s internal communications to journalist Matt Taibbi, simultaneously allowing him to share his findings publicly. What ensued was a 41-Tweet thread from Taibbi, focusing on Twitter’s collaboration with the U.S. Democratic party - ‘The Twitter Files’.
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According to Matt Taibbi, “Twitter took extraordinary steps to suppress the story, removing links and posting warnings that it may be ‘unsafe’. They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography.”
Taibbi’s further findings reveal that Twitter executives responsible for banning the story did so referring to Twitter’s ‘Hacked Material Policy’. However, as a former Twitter employee states “Hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that wasn’t going to hold. But no one had the guts to reverse it.”
It has been claimed by some commentators that Twitter and other Big Tech companies' success in burying the story helped Biden defeat Trump in the 2020 election.
Independent journalist Bari Weiss was due to publish a Twitter thread about additional internal censorship decisions made by Twitter executives prior to Musk’s takeover. This failed to go ahead when Weiss discovered that Baker was reviewing the emails before sending them to her.
“‘My jaw hit the floor’ says Weiss,” Taibbi tweeted on Tuesday.
Taibbi described Baker as “something of a Zelig of FBI controversies dating back to 2016.”
Baker was a top lawyer for the FBI prior to joining Twitter. During that period he acquainted his friend, lawyer and Democratic operative Michael Sussmann, with FBI investigators. Sussmann then provided fabricated accusations that Trump had a secret communication line with a Russian bank, the Washington Times reported.
Musk knew of Baker’s connection to the Trump-Russia investigation, describing it as “pretty bad” in an April tweet. Baker is an ex-CNN analyst who provided commentary about Trump and the Trump-Russia investigation.
Taibbi revealed that Bari Weiss has been working on the second release of emails, and has: “discovered that the person in charge of releasing the files was someone named Jim. When she called to ask ‘Jim’s’ last name, the answer came back: ‘Jim Baker.’”
Taibbi explained that Musk responded swiftly by sacking Baker, and reporters are now combing through more Twitter files.