Susan Rice, former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, met privately with the Senate Intelligence Committee Friday to be questioned about reports that she sought to “unmask” the identities of people close to President Trump whose communications were recorded after the election as part of surveillance of foreigners by American spy agencies.
Rice is the third high-profile Obama administration official to meet behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, after they heard from Obama’s former chief of staff, Denis McDonough, and James Clapper, who was director of national intelligence. On Monday, the committee will interview Trump adviser Jared Kushner regarding meetings he held with Russian officials. Don Trump, Jr. and former campaign manager Paul Manafort are also expected to meet with committee members in the near future.
“Ambassador Rice met voluntarily with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today as part of the committee’s bipartisan investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” said Erin Pelton, a spokeswoman for Rice. “Ambassador Rice appreciates the committee’s efforts to examine Russia’s efforts to interfere, which violated one of the core foundations of American democracy.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told CNN reporters, “Well, I think we’re interested in any folks that were in the last administration that had some hand in what we did or did not do in response to Russian meddling in our elections. I won’t get into when they’re coming or what the extent of the list is, but I think it’s safe to say that we’ve had everybody that was involved in decision-making at the last administration on our list, and they’re periodically coming. Some have been in. Some still have yet to come in.”
Burr did not raise concerns about allegations that Rice improperly unmasked any American citizens. According to Burr, “The unmasking thing was all created by Devin Nunes, and I’ll wait to go through our full evaluation to see if there was anything improper that happened. But clearly there were individuals unmasked. Some of that became public which it’s not supposed to, and our business is to understand that, and explain it.”
As House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Nunes (R-Calif.) led the charge against Rice and eventually recused himself from his panel’s Russia probe after being accused of appearing to be too close with the White House.
Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) discussed the Susan Rice unmasking scandal in a Fox News interview this week.
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