04/05/2017

Rice Denies Obama Administration Inappropriately Unmasked Trump Team Members [Watch]

Katie Bo Williams, The Hill

Former national security adviser Susan Rice on Tuesday categorically denied that the Obama administration inappropriately spied on President Trump or members of his transition team.

“The allegation is that somehow, Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes,” Rice told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “That’s absolutely false.”

Rice had requested that at least one Trump transition team member be “unmasked,” Bloomberg View reported Monday, leading to claims that the Obama White House had intended to use that intelligence to damage Trump’s transition.

While Rice did not deny making any such requests — declining to comment on specific reports — she denied that her actions went outside the scope of her job.

“It was not uncommon, it was necessary at times to make those requests,” she said. “I don’t have a particular recollection of doing that more frequently after the election.”

“The notion, which some people are trying to suggest, that by asking for the identity of the American person is the same is leaking it — that’s completely false,” Rice said. “There is no equivalence between so-called unmasking and leaking.”

Rice also flatly denied exposing Trump’s own former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign in February after media reports revealed that he misled Vice President Pence about the contents of his discussions with the Russian ambassador.

“I leaked nothing to nobody,” she said.

Two anonymous U.S. officials told Bloomberg's Eli Lake that the former Obama national security adviser was the one who requested unmasking Trump administration officials in raw intelligence files since viewed by Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the heads of the House Intel Committee. 

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