President Trump said Wednesday he thought that former national security adviser Susan Rice may have committed a crime by seeking the identities of Trump associates who were swept up in the surveillance of foreign officials by USA spy agencies and that other Obama administration officials may also have been involved.
Speaking to The New York Times on Wednesday, Trump said, "I think it's going to be the biggest story".
President Trump says he believes Obama national security adviser Susan Rice may have committed a crime.
Rice told Andrea Mitchell she unmasked Americans' names but "not for any political purposes".
Rice reportedly asked to unmask the identities of people affiliated with the Trump campaign and transition "on dozens of occasions", according to the Bloomberg report.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said that if Trump is going to accuse Rice of a crime, he should make the intelligence public.
"There was no such collection or surveillance on Trump Tower or Trump individuals", she said.
Rice also denied that she leaked information to the press, saying "I leaked nothing to nobody". Those names are redacted and minimized, or "masked", to protect the privacy of American citizens, permanent residents and other entities caught up in the legal surveillance of foreigners.More news: Surprise, Devin Nunes' Surveillance Claims Reportedly Don't Match Up To Classified Documents
"Do I think? Yes, I think", he responded.
Susan Rice's interview Tuesday added more smoke. The propensity to shift goal posts is par for the course - pun very much intended - for a president who seems to spend more time golfing and relying on speculative media pundits than understanding his own agencies' rules and procedures.
It's unclear if the information Nunes received is the same as the materials involving Rice. Following Nixon's resignation, the intelligence community was reformed via the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, with the hopes of imposing accountability measures for federal officials that spy on political opponents. But it sometimes picks up communications involving USA citizens who are not the target of the investigation.
Rice is the latest target for Trump and his embattled defenders.
Also factor in House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes's disclosure in a March 22 press conference that the names of Trump campaign or transition officials were demasked from NSA reports that had nothing to do with Russian Federation or alleged wrongdoing by the Trump campaign. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
In mid-March, House intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes abruptly announced he had seen "troubling" information about spy agencies widely spreading the identities of Trump associates.
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