Former FBI lawyer speaks with House lawmakers on Rosenstein, 2016

Former FBI lawyer speaks with House lawmakers on Rosenstein, 2016
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James Baker testified behind closed-doors on Thursday before two GOP-led House panel about his role as the FBI general counsel during the 2016 presidential election.

The meeting marks Baker’s second recent interview before the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees, panels which are leading a joint investigation into FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) decision-making during the 2016 election.

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GOP lawmakers say Baker, who appeared before the panels earlier this month, told congressional investigators that he believes Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay Rosenstein10 pieces of evidence against most diabolical Russian spy ever No glory in James Comey getting away with his abuse of FBI power Mueller’s real challenge MORE was serious when he told other officials he was considering wearing a wiretap during an Oval Office meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE last year following Trump’s firing of then-FBI director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Mazie Hirono: ‘Walls are closing in’ on Trump 10 pieces of evidence against most diabolical Russian spy ever MORE.

The New York Times, which published the bombshell report disclosing the wiretap discussion, also said Rosenstein raised the possibility of the 25th Amendment, talking about possibly removing Trump from office with the help of other Cabinet officials.

Rosenstein and the DOJ have fiercely disputed the story, stating that some comments were made in jest. Baker, however, told congressional investigators and a select group of GOP lawmakers that he believed Rosenstein meant them.

“It is deeply troubling that you got the former general counsel of the FBI saying in their reactions to Rod Rosenstein that there was going to be a wire worn by him with the president of the United States and that there was discussions he was having with cabinet members about invoking the 25th Amendment,” Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGOP rep says there was a double standard in Flynn, Clinton probes GOP rep says Dems will impeach Trump GOP lawmaker predicts Kushner will be Trump’s next chief of staff MORE (R-Fla.) also told reporters.

Despite rumors that Rosenstein’s job security was threatened, Trump recently told reporters that he has no plans to fire the top DOJ official following a private meeting between the two on Air Force One.

Although it is unclear what new information lawmakers gleaned from this second meeting with Baker, conservative House members appeared to ramp up their attacks against Rosenstein.

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOcasio-Cortez had highest percentage of small donors in midterms: report Comey rips Trump, GOP over 'lying' Trump names Mulvaney acting chief of staff MORE (R-N.C.), one of the president’s strongest allies and a fierce critic of the FBI and DOJ, called on Rosenstein to immediately resign after the interview concluded.

"I think that it’s time that Rod Rosenstein steps down,” Meadows told reporters, citing reasons like “misplaced” priorities, lack of candor, and “unwillingness” to submit to congressional oversight.

“He should do so immediately and in doing that, I think it would serve the country well, it would serve this president well," he added.

House Freedom Caucus members previously said Rosenstein should either testify before Congress or resign from his post.

Baker, whom GOP lawmakers described as being cooperative, did not respond to reporters’ questions about his testimony. Baker retired earlier this year from the bureau and now works for the Brookings Institution, a D.C.-based think tank.

Gaetz, however, complained that the FBI general counsel present for the interview would not allow Baker to answer a series of questions about topics like surveillance of Trump campaign aides because it is tied to ongoing investigations. Lawmakers, however, said Rosenstein was one topic they discussed.

The joint investigation, derided by Democrats as an effort to discredit or distract from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s probe, has been hotly sought by conservative members, who say there is ample evidence of bias against Trump among the top brass at the FBI and DOJ.

Baker is one of a handful of former FBI and DOJ officials who have met with the committee in recent weeks.

Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr’s wife who worked as a contractor for Fusion GPS during the presidential election, is slated to testify before the committee on Friday.