Susan Rice became the political football of the GOP once again this week. The firestorm started when it was leaked that she was the target of that mysterious intelligence that House Intel Chair Devin Nunes strangely ran back and forth from the White House with — giving surreal press conferences in between trips. All the while, Nunes refused to share his information with any other member of the intelligence committee — even ranking member Adam Schiff, who had to go to the White House himself to see what all the noise was about. Nunes initially claimed that what he saw had nothing to do with the Russian investigation, another thing we know now is completely false.
The information Nunes allegedly saw now seems to be a very cherry-picked and selective interpretation of everyday business inside the intelligence community. Interviewer Andrea Mitchell dove right into the interview by asking Rice specifically if there was any truth to the charges made by many Republicans that she acted improperly, possibly illegally. Rice responded qickly and succinctly, denying she did anything wrong. She then explained how the process worked:
“Every morning … we receive, from the intelligence community, a compilation of intelligence reports that the IC has selected for us on a daily basis to give us the best information as to what’s going on in the world. I received those reports as did each of (the other intelligence chiefs) … there were occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to — name not provided, just U.S. person. And sometimes, in that context, in order to understand the importance of that report, and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out or request who that person was.”
Rice went on to use a hypothetical example of two foreigners talking about getting arms from an American. She explained she might need to know that to see “is this some kook?” or was it someone who might actually be able to deliver on such a thing.
Rice also directly denied ever leaking anything to anyone — including Michael Flynn specifically — something her critics have speculated on as well.
Some accused Rice of having a “spreadsheet” of Trump officials — Rice said that was absolutely false.
Rice pointed out that so-called “unmasking” has nothing to do with leaking. One is a process that happens as part of any intelligence officials job, the other is a crime. Again, Rice denied ever leaking anything and said she never would.
While there was no patterns or no intent to look at Trump associates, as the FBI investigation revealed that the Russians were trying to meddle in our election, more Trump surrogate names may have come up, but that had nothing to do with any malice or intent. The way Rice put it, the Trump people might need to explain why their names kept showing up in reports rather than anyone explaining that they happened to come across them.
Rice also had some strong words concerning how they treated the Trump team during the transition, stressing they did everything in the most professional and thorough manner possible. She also emphasized that the White House couldn’t order any surveillance and all such charges of such by Trump or anyone else is fiction.
At the end of the interview, Rice indicated she would be willing to testify, if needed and “help in any way” that she could concerning the Russian investigation, which some have dubbed #Russiagate.
Check out the full interview below:
Featured image via screen capture from youtube.com