In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, President Trump said that it was likely that former national security adviser Susan Rice broke the law by unmasking the names of his associates caught on incidental surveillance reports. Trump also said that Rice was probably involved in a larger effort to destroy his incoming presidency.
“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.”
The Times asked Trump if he thought Rice had committed a crime, to which he replied, “Do I think? Yes, I think.”
So far, there has been no evidence to prove that a crime was committed – at least not by Rice – but there’s no doubt that someone leaked Michael Flynn’s name to the press, along with others who were involved with the Trump campaign. And since that was classified information, it was a crime. Maybe Rice did that herself, maybe she ordered someone else to do it. Maybe she didn’t have anything to do with it. But by unmasking the names and then sharing them with several intelligence agencies, she certainly laid the groundwork.
In an email to the Times, a spokesperson for Rice said, “I’m not going to dignify the president’s ludicrous charge with a comment.”
Rice herself denied doing anything wrong on Tuesday. In an interview with MSNBC, she said, “The allegation is that somehow the Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. That’s absolutely false.”
Strong denial. Of course, she also said just a month or so ago that she knew nothing about any of this incidental collection in the first place. Now she admits that she knew about it and she admits – tacitly, anyway – that she did indeed request that the names be unmasked. So we’re not sure how seriously we’re supposed to take her new denials.
Oh, but Donald Trump is the liar. Right, right.
On the other hand, let’s get real here. Rice didn’t come up with this scheme on her own. Whatever she’s guilty of, Obama’s guilty of. This was a coordinated effort and it reeks of politics.