'I Think' Susan Rice May Have Committed A Crime

Ilya S. Savenok  Getty Images

Unmasking is the word of the week in Washington, D.C.

"I think it's going to be the biggest story", Trump said in an interview in the Oval Office.

He continued,"It's such an important story for our country and the world. It is one of the big stories of our time".

Trump does not claim to have such evidence.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), the top Democrat on the committee, said Wednesday that the White House made the allegations against Rice "to distract" from separate investigations by the House and Senate intelligence committees and the FBI into whether there was improper coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

In an interview Tuesday with MSNBC, Rice said: "The allegation is that somehow the Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes". Later on Wednesday, Erin Pelton, a spokesman for Rice, said in an email to Reuters: "I'm not going to dignify the President's ludicrous charge with a comment".

Rice has come under fire this week amid reports that she was responsible for the unmasking of the identities of Trump associates.

Rice became the subject of ire from Trump allies earlier this week after media reports said the former Obama official requested the identities of transition team members be unmasked in reports about surveillance of foreign targets. While it was legal for her to do this, it was highly unethical and would be a huge scandal if a Republican senior official sought the names of Democratic political opponents from USA intelligence reports.

However, there are 20 high-ranking officials within the USA government who have to power to approve requests to reveal those identities if they deem that information is necessary to understanding the value of the intelligence. Certain government officials such as Rice may request names to be revealed to help them understand the intelligence reports.

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are now investigating allegations the Obama administration spied on Trump associates - and possibly Trump himself - for as long as the year preceding his inauguration. Democrat and Republican lawmakers continue to say no evidence supports this claim.

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The Wall Street Journal reported that the House intelligence committee wants Rice, national security adviser to Obama in his second term, to testify as part of its probe into Russia's meddling in the USA election and whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow. "We don't have remotely enough detail on what the report was about, and why she wanted to have information unmasked". This seemed to be an attempt by Rice to make her requests look legitimate because NSA carefully reviewed them.

Rice alluded to that Russian Federation probe in her interview, saying it was of "grave concern".

O'Reilly has been accused of sexual harassment by at least five women, and according to reports he and Fox News have paid his accusers a total of about $13 million.

Rice also denied leaking the information to anyone without the security clearances required to view classified intelligence reports, which would be a crime.

"I leaked nothing to nobody, and never have and never would", Rice told MSNBC.

It's not illegal to unmask the names of Americans caught up incidentally in surveillance.

After false starts and odd twists in the White House's counter-narrative about the potential connections between President Trump's campaign and Russia's electoral meddling, the storyline has settled into a familiar arc: It's all Susan Rice's fault. Nunes has denied acting on behalf of the White House. It's the policy. When anyone's name appears unless there's an intelligence value to it, the name has to be blacked out and masked. Nunes later clarified that "for the most part" the names were not revealed, but "it was pretty clear who they were talking about", he told CNN in late March.

FBI Director James Comey, in the same hearing, would not say how many in his agency have that power.

"Our requests are simply not being answered", said one House Intelligence committee source about the lack of responsiveness.

A CIA spokesperson told Fox News the NSA was the lead agency on the matter and referred questions to it.

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