President Trump says that President Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice may have committed a crime by unmasking names of Trump associates in USA intelligence reports collected by intelligence agencies.
"Do I think? Yes, I think", Trump told the New York Times when asked if he thought Rice had committed a crime by requesting the unmasking of USA persons tied to his campaign. In an exclusive interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Monday, April 4, Rice flatly denied allegations she tried to "unmask" Trump campaign officials caught on surveillance by USA intelligence services with ill intent.
Over the past few days, it was revealed that former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice took deliberate steps to unmask members of the Trump campaign swept up in incidental intelligence collection operations during the course of their conversations with targets of USA collection. "If the intelligence community professionals decide that there's some value, national security, foreign policy or otherwise in unmasking someone, they will grant those requests", said former Obama State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
According to a us official, Mr. Trump national security aides discovered that Rice requested the identities of Trump campaign advisers. This included the illegal leaking of General Michael Flynn's name from an NSA report and press reports that the Obama administration in its final weeks lowered the threshold for access to NSA information and spread intelligence about Russian interference in the election and alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign throughout the government.
The newspaper said that when Trump was asked if Rice had committed a crime, he replied: "Do I think?"
"If true, these are extremely serious allegations, that basically Susan Rice, according to these allegations was unmasking or making known the names of Americans whose names appeared surveillance of foreign officials". While initially saying she knew nothing about the reports, she later changed her story to say that, though sometimes she did ask to reveal the identities of US citizens incidentally collected in surveillance, the purposes were never political.
When a name is unmasked it is only provided to the official who requested it, and therefore unmasking is not equivalent to leaking the name.
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"Maybe because she's a black woman", said Mr. Corn, the D.C. bureau chief at Mother Jones. The Times said Trump declined "repeated requests for evidence of his allegations or the names of other Obama administration officials".
"I think he shouldn't have settled; personally I think he shouldn't have settled", said Trump. But the president typically enjoys immunity from civil lawsuits over official acts, Culhane noted, and a court could find that Trump's interview with the newspaper was within the scope of his official duties.
"This is why. our effort has to be bipartisan - nonpartisan in a more ideal sense", Warner said.
Nunes also said he confirmed that "additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked".
"Our requests are simply not being answered", said one House Intelligence committee source about the lack of responsiveness.
Nunes learned about these practices from officials in the Trump administration, and then announced them, and then publicly visited the White House because, he said, he needed to brief Trump about them.