Republican lawmakers think there’s something “unusual” about Obama era national security adviser Susan Rice emailing herself regarding Russian election interference the day President Trump took office.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) released the email along with a list of questions for Rice about the missive on Monday.
The partially unclassified email appears to detail a meeting that took place on Jan. 5, 2017, two weeks before Trump’s inauguration.
The sitdown included President Barack Obama, then-FBI director James Comey, then-deputy attorney general Sally Yates, former Vice President Joe Biden and Rice.
“President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book,’” Rice wrote to herself.
"Obama told Comey he wanted to be careful about sharing information with the incoming Trump administration regarding Russia,” Rice wrote.
Trump’s choice to replace Rice, disgraced retired general Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials during the transition period leading up to Trump assuming office.
Rice added that Obama said “he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.”
Rice wrote that Obama’s comments came after a briefing by the intelligence community on Russia’s activities during the presidential election.
Grassley and Graham said in their letter they found it “odd” that Rice felt it necessary to send herself “such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation” in her final hours as a member of the Obama administration.
The pair also sent Rice several questions about the infamous dossier written by former British spy Christopher Steele.
The collection of memos details unverified connections between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as several salacious claims about compromising information about the President.
Grassley and Graham have referred Steele for criminal charges and have focused much of the Senate probe into Russian election interference on the FBI and other officials’ handling of the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
The origins of the probe now led by special counsel Robert Mueller have come under increased scrutiny by GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Grassley and Graham.
Grassley and Graham suggest that despite Rice’s claims that Obama had told Comey to proceed “by the book,” questions about the conduct of FBI officials and others have grown.
They also questioned Rice about surveillance tactics — including an FBI-requested warrant to wiretap Trump associate Carter Page. The Page surveillance was detailed in a GOP-penned memo released earlier this month that accused the FBI of anti-Trump bias and political influence.
Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe said the Rice email proves that the Obama administration took the threat of Russian influence seriously.
“The email about which Grassley and Graham are badgering Susan Rice should make every American proud of how Obama and his team handled the national security crisis posed by Trump’s reliance on Flynn. And this email deepens the Russian shadow over the Trump Administration,” Tribe tweeted.
Source : http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/gop-pols-question-unusual-susan-rice-email-russian-probe-article-1.3817697