Dr. Susan Rice, former U.S. national security adviser
WASHINGTON, DC —Dr. Susan Rice, former Obama’s administration national security adviser informed the House Intelligence Committee her reasons for unmasking the identities of President Trump’s campaign officials when he ran for president in 2016. Speaking to the congressional committee yesterday, Dr. Rice said she unmasked the identities of the Trump officials to know and understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was visiting New York City late last year, according to multiple sources that informed CNN.
Sources familiar with the issues say the crown prince’s New York meeting preceded a separate effort by the UAE to facilitate a back-channel communication between Russia and the then incoming Trump White House.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE crown prince arrived in New York last December in the transition period prior to Trump assuming office for a meeting with many top Trump officials, including dismissed Trump’s White House national adviser, retired general Michael Flynn, the president’s son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, and former White House’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, sources said.
Reliable source confirmed that the Obama administration had believed it was misled by the United Arab Emirates, which had failed to mention that Crown Prince Zayed was visiting the United States even though protocol requires that foreign dignitaries need to notify the US government about their travels, according to several sources familiar with the matter.
“I didn’t hear anything to believe that she did anything illegal,” Florida Congressman. Tom Rooney, a Republican facilitating the panel’s Russia investigation, told CNN of Dr. Rice’s testimony. He refused to discuss any of the contents of her classified testimony.
Dr. Rice, speaking through a spokeswoman, refused to comment about her testimony. Also, Congressman Nunes refused to answer questions when asked about Rice’s testimony Tuesday evening.
South Carolina Republican congressman, Trey Gowdy, who is assisting in leading the House’s investigation, told media groups “nothing that came up in her interview that led me to conclude” that she improperly unmasked the names of Trump associates or leaked it to the press.
Speaking on the matter, White House’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, did not explicitly say whether President Trump still believes Dr. Rice committed a crime but said the issue of leaking and unmasking needs to be investigated.
“We’ve seen illegal leaking of classified materials, including the identities of American citizens unmasked in intelligence reports,” Sanders told CNN. “That’s why the President called for Congress to investigate this matter and why the Department of Justice and Intelligence Community are doing all they can to stamp out this dangerous trend that undermines our national security.”
Several Republicans have accused Dr. Rice of knowingly unmasking US citizens who turned out being several of Trump’s associates during the 2016’s presidential race. But Rice’s submission that she unmasked the names of US individuals — who turned out to be Trump associates — over apprehensions about the decorum of the UAE crown prince’s visit to the United States could assist her rebuff attacks that she was wrong in her action.