(…) “Between July and October 2016, Clinton-connected lawyers, emissaries and apologists made more than a half-dozen overtures to U.S. officials, each tapping a political connection to get suspect evidence into FBI counterintelligence agents’ hands, according to internal documents and testimonies I reviewed and interviews I conducted.
(…) Ex-FBI general counsel James Baker, one of the more senior bureau executives to be targeted, gave a memorable answer when congressional investigators asked how attorney Michael Sussmann from the Perkins Coie law firm, which represented the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party, came to personally deliver him dirt on Trump.
“You’d have to ask him why he decided to pick me,” Baker said last year in testimony that has not yet been released publicly. The FBI’s top lawyer turned over a calendar notation to Congress, indicating that he met Sussmann on Sept. 19, 2016, less than two months before Election Day.
(…) Baker’s detailed account illustrates how a political connection — Sussmann and Baker knew each other — was leveraged to get anti-Trump research to FBI leaders.
“[Sussmann] told me he had cyber experts that had obtained some information that they thought they should get into the hands of the FBI,” Baker testified.
“I referred this to investigators, and I believe they made a record of it,” he testified, adding that he believed he reached out to Peter Strzok, the agent in charge of the Russia case, or William Priestap, the head of FBI counterintelligence.
“Please come get this,” he recalled telling his colleagues. Baker acknowledged it was not the normal way for counterintelligence evidence to enter the FBI.
But when the bureau’s top lawyer makes a request, things happen in the rank-and-file.
The overture was neither the first nor the last instance of Clinton-connected Trump dirt reaching the FBI.
(…) During a trip to Washington later that month, Steele reached out to two political contacts with the credentials to influence the FBI.
Then-senior State Department official Jonathan Winer, who worked for then-Secretary John Kerry, wrote that Steele first approached him in the summer with his Trump research and then met again with him in September. Winer consulted his boss, Assistant Secretary for Eurasia Affairs Victoria Nuland, who said she first learned of Steele’s allegations in late July and urged Winer to send it to the FBI.
(If you need further intrigue, Winer worked from 2008 to 2013 for the lobbying and public relations firm APCO Worldwide, the same firm that was a contractor for both the Clinton Global Initiative and Russia’s main nuclear fuel company that won big decisions from the Obama administration.) (Read much more: The Hill, 1/22/2019)