James Baker has long been in the crosshairs of Elon Musk, who on October 27 became his boss.
Baker played a key role in a series of events that led to Democrat lawyer Michael Sussmann going on trial in May, accused of lying to the FBI.
He was not accused of giving the FBI false information, but rather lying about who he worked for.
The saga began when Sussmann was given information from a group of data scientists who analyzed odd internet data they thought might suggest clandestine communications between a server for the Trump Organization and a server for Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked Russian financial institution.
Sussmann then texted Baker, at the time the bureau’s general counsel, to say he had information the FBI should be aware of.
‘I’m coming on my own — not on behalf of a client or company — want to help the bureau,’ Sussmann wrote in his text to Baker.
Baker testified that he was certain Sussmann was acting as an individual, and would likely not have met him were he working for the Clinton campaign.
Sussmann, a cybersecurity specialist, had worked for the Democratic Party in the context of Russia’s hacking of its servers, and Russia publishing emails from the servers.
Sussmann was also connected to the Democrats via one of his partners at the law firm Perkins Coie, Marc Elias, who was representing the Clinton campaign and hired Fusion GPS.
Yet multiple people – including Elias – testified that Sussmann was indeed acting on his own accord, and argued that actually going to the FBI was not in the interests of the Clinton campaign, which would have preferred a New York Times story drawing attention to the assertions.
The FBI later decided the allegations of links between the Trump campaign and the Russian bank were unfounded.
Musk tweeted during the trial that he thought Sussmann had ‘created an elaborate hoax’ about Russia, in a bid to help Clinton.
On May 16, staunchly pro-Trump Congressman Jim Jordan tweeted: ‘Christopher Steele created the dossier.
‘Glenn Simpson sold it to the press.
‘Michael Sussman took it to the FBI.
‘And Democrats and the media lied to you about it all.’
Musk then replied in agreement.
‘All true,’ he tweeted on May 20.
‘Bet most people still don’t know that a Clinton campaign lawyer, using campaign funds, created an elaborate hoax about Trump and Russia.
‘Makes you wonder what else is fake.’
On May 31, the jury concluded that Sussmann had not lied to the FBI and cleared him.