The former top FBI lawyer when the Russia investigation began said Monday that President Donald Trump should apologize to him and the rest of the FBI for propagating conspiracy theories about the probe’s origins after the Justice Department inspector general’s report debunked them.
“I think the President should apologize to us,” James Baker, the former FBI general counsel, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “I respectfully ask him, I would ask him to apologize to me, to my colleagues, because the things he said are just wrong. And I think he should step up and do that at a minimum.”
Baker continued: “The conclusions are quite clear that the President’s statements over these past several years were all wrong – that there was no hoax, there was no conspiracy to overthrow anybody, there was no sedition, there was no treason, there was no evidence of any of that.”
He added that Trump’s statements have had a negative effect on his family and former colleagues.
Baker’s comments were in response to the report’s conclusion in no uncertain terms that there was no political conspiracy to undermine Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. While the report detailed errors the FBI committed during the investigation, specifically about surveillance warrants issued for a former Trump campaign aide, it essentially rebuts more than two years of talking points by Trump and Republicans about a deep-state effort to derail his campaign.
Baker also said that he had not expected Attorney General William Barr’s comments on Monday criticizing the FBI and contradicting some of the report’s key findings. The remarks, Baker said, were “disappointing.”
“I found it really quite surprising and just not appropriate under these circumstances given what he said and given what the IG had found,” he said.
Baker told Cuomo that Trump’s continued disparaging attacks had been “traumatic,” but said, “I have just resolved that I refuse to get down in the mud with anybody.”
“I just refuse. It’s not what’s in the best interest of the country.”
CNN’s Dan Berman and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.