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Washington - Trump Says Obama Aide, Susan Rice Might Have Broken The Law

Published on: April 5, 2017 02:15 PM
By: AP
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FILE - In this July 7, 2016 file photo, then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice is seen on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Rice  says it's "absolutely false" that the previous administration used intelligence about President Donald Trump's associates for political purposes. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)FILE - In this July 7, 2016 file photo, then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice is seen on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Rice says it's "absolutely false" that the previous administration used intelligence about President Donald Trump's associates for political purposes. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Washington - President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his predecessor’s national security adviser might have committed a crime when she asked government analysts to disclose the names of Trump associates documented in intelligence reports.

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Trump made the accusation in an interview with The New York Times and would not say if he reviewed new intelligence to support his claim. He told the Times he would say more “at the right time.”

“I think it’s going to be the biggest story,” Trump said. “It’s such an important story for our country and the world. It is one of the big stories of our time.”

Susan Rice, former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, is the latest target for Trump and his embattled defenders. Rice has firmly denied that she or other Obama officials used secret intelligence reports to spy on Trump associates for political purposes.

“Absolutely false,” Rice declared Tuesday.

Trump on Wednesday disagreed. When the Times asked him if Rice broke the law, he said, “Do I think? Yes, I think.”

The White House has seized on the idea that the Obama administration improperly surveilled the Republican during and after the November election — an accusation Democrats say is just another red herring thrown out to distract attention from investigations of Russian interference in the campaign on behalf of Trump.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the House intelligence committee investigation — one of three looking into Russia’s role in the 2016 election— was back on track, and Republicans and Democrats have agreed on the witnesses to be called. A congressional aide said there were more than a dozen people on the witness list.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer cast Rice’s handling of intelligence in the waning days of Obama’s term as suspicious, although he did not detail what he found to be inappropriate.

“The more we find out about this, the more we learn there was something there,” Spicer said.

According to a U.S. official, Rice asked spy agencies to give her the names of Trump associates who surfaced in intelligence reports she was regularly briefed on. Rice’s official role would have given her the ability to make those requests for national security purposes.

Rice, in an interview with MSNBC, acknowledged that she sometimes asked for the names of Americans referenced in reports. She would not say whether she saw intelligence related to Trump associates or whether she asked for their identities, though she did say that reports related to Russia increased in the final months of the presidential election campaign.

The Trump White House has been particularly incensed that intercepted conversations between Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. surfaced in news reports before the inauguration. Flynn was fired after it became clear that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and others about the content of those discussions.

Rice denied that she had leaked details about Flynn’s call, saying, “I leaked nothing to nobody.”

The U.S. official said Rice’s Trump-related requests were discovered as part of a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” — the intelligence community’s term for revealing Americans’ identities that would otherwise be hidden in classified reports. The review was prompted by a belief that there were inefficiencies in the current procedures and concerns over a policy change made in the closing days of the Obama administration, according to the official, who insisted on anonymity in order to disclose the sensitive information.

In January, the Justice Department and intelligence officials agreed on new rules giving more U.S. agencies access to raw information picked up abroad by the National Security Agency. Privacy advocates have raised concerns that the new rules — which are yet to be fully implemented — would lead to the information being shared too broadly.

The unmasking review was led by Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the NSC’s senior director of intelligence. Cohen-Watnick has clashed with the CIA and was on the verge of being moved out of his job until Trump political advisers Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner stepped in to keep him in the role.

Cohen-Watnick raised his findings about Rice with the White House counsel’s office, according to the official. The counsel’s office ordered him to stand down because the lawyers did not want the White House to be running an independent investigation into the prior administration.

Still, the White House has appeared to find other ways to promote the idea that Obama officials were conducting improper surveillance of Trump’s team.

In mid-March, House intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes abruptly announced he had seen “troubling” information about spy agencies widely spreading the identities of Trump associates. The president’s advisers quickly embraced Nunes’ revelations, but did not acknowledge at the time that the congressman had viewed the information at the White House with the help of White House officials.

It’s unclear if the information Nunes received is the same as the materials involving Rice.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, has called on Nunes to recuse himself from the panel’s Russia investigation. Schiff now has seen the same intelligence information as his Republican counterpart and has said nothing in it “justifies such duplicitous conduct” on the White House’s behalf.

The U.S. routinely monitors the communications of foreigners. The identities of Americans who talk with those foreigners, or who are discussed in conversations between two non-U.S. persons, are masked in intelligence reports.

Rice became a favorite target of conservatives after the 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, when she was sent out to do television interviews with talking points about the attacks that later proved to be incorrect. Even Republicans who have been critical of White House efforts to muddy the Russia investigations have said it is imperative to get to the bottom of her handling of Trump-related intelligence.

“When it comes to Susan Rice, you need to verify, not trust,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.



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Read Comments (17)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 05, 2017 at 02:51 PM lazy-boy Says:

Interesting to see what will be: Will Suzie be indicted for doing not nice things or will the case get dropped? Will former laid back nice guy prez Obama get implicated? Stay tuned!

2

 Apr 05, 2017 at 03:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Will see DemonRats jump around all this.

3

 Apr 05, 2017 at 03:17 PM georgeg Says:

Did Susan Rice, on 22 March 2017, in a PBS interview, deny any knowledge about any unmasking? Hard to find anywhere mention of any such denial in the same media that is so eager to propagate the legality of her admitted unmasking.

4

 Apr 05, 2017 at 04:05 PM SandmanNY Says:

Rice is about as truthful as HiLIARy.

5

 Apr 05, 2017 at 05:35 PM Anonymous Says:

No 2 you must have a rat infested brain, have a cranial radiography and Hillary and Rice I believe ae more truthful, than you.

6

 Apr 05, 2017 at 07:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

No 2 you must have a rat infested brain, have a cranial radiography and Hillary and Rice I believe ae more truthful, than you.

Calm down fellow. Just because you went on a rampage the facts don't change. Unfortunately the Democratic party sold their souls.

7

 Apr 05, 2017 at 07:43 PM Anonymous Says:

first it was Obama and now it is Rice. President Trump has a persecution complex

8

 Apr 05, 2017 at 09:16 PM puppydogs Says:

Lock her up with Hillary, how awesome would that be?

Sounds like another Obama related scandal to me

9

 Apr 05, 2017 at 10:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Interesting. Susan Rice comited a crime so Trump fired Banon. He is the POTUS and Yes he can fire Banon and bla-bla about Susan. He knows the truths. Not a single Obama aide is under FBI Investigation. 70% of Trumps nominees including him is under FBI,CIA and Congressional Investigation under a Republican run Govt.

10

 Apr 05, 2017 at 10:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
puppydogs Says:

Lock her up with Hillary, how awesome would that be?

Sounds like another Obama related scandal to me

" Obama scandal" Even most Republicans agree that not one single scandal under 8 years of Obama. Nothing. Zero. Loyal husband, loving Father, and 8 years of economic and social growth. 3 month of Trump???? What a joke. Can't pass Immigration reform, can't repeal Obamacare, can't pass Trumpcare, No wall, No moving of embassy to Jerusalem.

11

 Apr 05, 2017 at 10:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
puppydogs Says:

Lock her up with Hillary, how awesome would that be?

Sounds like another Obama related scandal to me

"Lock her up with Hillary" They are not under any investigations, unlike Trump and 7 of his advisers, cabinet members and campaign mangers. Yes Lock them up. they will be indicted soon.

12

 Apr 05, 2017 at 10:18 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

Remarkable. The President says Susan Rice may have broken the law and that Bill O'Reilly didn't. Maybe he needs to take some time to do president things.

13

 Apr 06, 2017 at 08:58 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
puppydogs Says:

Lock her up with Hillary, how awesome would that be?

Sounds like another Obama related scandal to me

with a puppy dog as company. are you trained or you still soil the floor

14

 Apr 06, 2017 at 12:11 PM puppydogs Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

" Obama scandal" Even most Republicans agree that not one single scandal under 8 years of Obama. Nothing. Zero. Loyal husband, loving Father, and 8 years of economic and social growth. 3 month of Trump???? What a joke. Can't pass Immigration reform, can't repeal Obamacare, can't pass Trumpcare, No wall, No moving of embassy to Jerusalem.

Humor yourself Google Obama scandals and see what comes up.

15

 Apr 06, 2017 at 12:12 PM Puppydogs Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

"Lock her up with Hillary" They are not under any investigations, unlike Trump and 7 of his advisers, cabinet members and campaign mangers. Yes Lock them up. they will be indicted soon.

Oh but they will be soon. Can't wait until they connect the dots, will go always the ways up the food chain to the former failure in chief

16

 Apr 06, 2017 at 12:13 PM Puppydogs Says:

Reply to #12  
PaulinSaudi Says:

Remarkable. The President says Susan Rice may have broken the law and that Bill O'Reilly didn't. Maybe he needs to take some time to do president things.

Are you referring to Bill Clinton things? Because that's quite disgusting

17

 Apr 06, 2017 at 12:14 PM Puppydogs Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

with a puppy dog as company. are you trained or you still soil the floor

Thanks for cleaning up after me.

18

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