As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation presses forward and circles closer and closer to the president, his family, and top allies, people on the right are increasingly scrutinizing the FBI. After releasing text messages showing two former members of Mueller’s team, one an FBI agent, talking negatively about Trump during the campaign, Trump allies called the FBI biased against President Donald Trump.
It is important to note that the two investigators who were involved in a private conversation about Trump were dismissed from the Mueller team as soon as Mueller became aware of the text messages. That hasn’t stopped the right from alleging the FBI is in disarray and is fraught with bias.
The president himself has fueled that fire, attacking the FBI on Twitter and in comments made to the press. It is within that context that James Baker, the top lawyer at the FBI is being reassigned. Christopher Wray, the new director of the FBI, made the reassignment as one of his first moves in his new position.
Baker is a longtime civil servant who has been the head of the FBI’s Office of General Counsel for several years. Recently, Baker has been involved in an interagency dispute and leak probe. That probe has interested lawmakers, especially those friendly to the president. The leak probe ended recently, according to people familiar with the issue. At its conclusion, the decision was made not to charge anyone.
Baker was close to Wray’s predecessor, James Comey. Since Wray took over the position as director of the FBI, Baker is said to have told colleagues he expected Wray would put someone else in his position.
Wray is faced with increasing criticism for politicizing the agency. Baker’s involvement with the leak probe, that petered out and did not lead to any charges, and his closeness with James Comey point to Wray’s attempt to clean house and guard against accusations of bias.
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