08:51 GMT13 August 2020
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    During two sessions in October, former FBI general counsel James Baker testified before Congress about the bureau’s Hillary Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations. The FBI promised it would release those transcripts, which aren’t classified - but four months later, all we’ve seen are selective excerpts shown to news networks. Why?

    News agencies shown at least part of the transcripts include the New York Times, which had portions read to it, and CNN, which simply said it "obtained" it. However, other contents of the interviews are known thanks to a Tuesday letter from Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), now a ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, to John Durham, the US attorney in Connecticut.

    The congressmen's letter, which requested more information about Baker's case, reveals that Baker's testimony was cut short by his lawyer, Daniel Levin, who indicated the former FBI counsel was under "a criminal leak investigation that's still active."

    Judging by the exchange, it seems the leak may have to do with material given to Mother Jones journalist David Corn, meaning there's a possibility it refers to the Steele dossier.

    Another excerpt, used by the NYT for a January 11 article, discusses the FBI's conclusion that, following the firing of former FBI director James Comey in May 2017, US President Donald Trump was a possibly threat to national security, after which the bureau opened up a counterintelligence investigation.

    "Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security," Baker told Congress in October.

    A Monday piece by CNN provides the third piece of the puzzle, in which Baker tells Congress the bureau wanted to know if Trump "was acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing [Russia's] will."

    "That was one extreme. The other extreme is that the president is completely innocent, and we discussed that too," Baker said.

    That's basically it. The testimony wasn't classified, the Washington Examiner notes, and Meadows has described its contents as "explosive," so why won't the FBI or any of the news agencies that have seen it publish anything more than excerpts of the transcripts?

    Radio Sputnik's Loud and Clear discussed the curious case with Jim Kavanagh, editor of the ThePolemicist.net.

    ​Kavanagh suggested to hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that the FBI doesn't "really think that Donald Trump is an agent that's handled by Vladimir Putin, or paid off by him," but that, like Republican lawmakers demanding the transcript's publication believe, the contents of the testimony will reveal that the FBI wanted to investigate Trump regardless of whether or not any credible suspicion of his connection to Russia could be sustained.

    Instead, they opened the counterintelligence investigation because "under the rules of procedure, the FBI cannot get access — if they want information from the NSA documents, from NSA data that the NSA collects, which is everything, all the phone calls and everything, they must go through the NSA and tell the NSA what they want and what it's for. And the NSA then decides what's relevant — except in the case of a counterintelligence investigation."

    "Then they can get direct access to all the NSA data themselves. So I think that's why the counterintelligence investigation was opened: because it allowed the FBI investigators to go directly through all that NSA data, unfiltered. And then they had everybody's phone calls, and they had all of that information. So they wanted to do that, and that's why they pushed it through… They wanted to make sure that the FBI investigation, and the Mueller investigation, had direct access to all that NSA data."

    Kavanagh said the FBI, as well as CNN and the NYT, are guilty of "selective leaking of supposedly secret information" to forward the Russiagate narrative.

    "The transcript should be public, because it was not a classified session, and the reason it hasn't been released is the FBI has the right to vet it before it's released, but they haven't allowed it to be released yet. So the FBI is, on the one hand, holding it back. On the other hand, clearly, the New York Times and CNN also have access to this transcript, and they are printing what they want to print about it, the selective things they want to print about it, which are the things most damaging to Trump."

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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