The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee will not hear from former national security adviser Susan Rice regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.
According to a letter sent by Rice’s lawyer, she is declining the invitation to testify. The invite was sent by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (S.C.).
The letter indicates that Rice would have accepted if the senior Democrat on the subcommittee had been included in the invitation.
Rice’s lawyer, Kathryn H. Ruemmler of Latham & Watkins LLP, writes:
While Ambassador Rice commends the Subcommittee’s efforts to examine this matter of extraordinary national significance, it is extremely rare for the Congress to request the testimony of a former senior advisor to the President given the longstanding and well-recognized separation of powers concerns at issue.
The letter notes that Ambassador Rice was only informed “less than two weeks” before the scheduled hearing, and that Rice was not given professional courtesy to consult about the date.
According to the letter, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) “did not agree to Chairman Graham’s invitation to Ambassador Rice, a significant departure from the bipartisan invitations extended to other witnesses.”
“Under these circumstances, Ambassador Rice respectfully declines Senator Graham’s invitation to testify,” Ruemmler writes.
Ruemmler concludes by saying that Rice supports the efforts of the bipartisan Congressional inquiries into Russian interference in the 2016 election and finds the work important.
Graham wanted Rice to clarify the requests she made to reveal the identities of U.S. citizens in intelligence reports. “I’d like to ask questions of her,” Graham told CNN. “I have seen press reports – I don’t know how accurate – that she was involved in the unmasking of a U.S. citizen who was incidentally surveilled.”
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