Published: Wed, April 12, 2017
Entertaiment | By Minnie Bishop

Axelrod: Trump's Susan Rice allegation 'beneath the dignity of that office'

Axelrod: Trump's Susan Rice allegation 'beneath the dignity of that office'

Trump and his allies have focused on unsubstantiated reports that Rice, who served as Obama's national security adviser, disclosed the names of Trump aides swept up in US surveillance of foreign targets.

President Donald Trump said he thinks Susan Rice, the former national security adviser for President Obama, may have committed a crime when she had the names of Americans - which turned out to be Trump associates - unmasked in intelligence reports, according to a report.

Trump also suggested other officials in former President Barack Obama's administration may also have been involved, but provided no evidence to back his claims. He told the Times he would say more "at the right time".

Rice declined to comment through a spokeswoman: "I'm not going to dignify the President's ludicrous charge with a comment".

For the record, there are no credible accusations against Rice, any unmasking she did, she insists, was done as part of her job as President Obama's National Security Advisor, as experts have agreed. These names are usually redacted or even given vague descriptors like "Male 1".

Devin Nunes, the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee, has been called a "clown" and an "amateur", along with much else, for the way he handled his recent revelation that associates of President Donald Trump were "incidentally" caught up in raw-intelligence collection a year ago.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.

Nunes also said he confirmed that "additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked".

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Rice has found herself caught in the cross hairs of a political "scandal" over her handling of intelligence reports involving associates of the then presidential candidate. What we're seeing here is USA officials doing jobs to respond to what had markers of a counterintelligence threat: "the Trump campaign". Rice denied that allegation.

"There is an established process for senior national security officials to ask for the identity of USA persons in these reports", she added.

"I leaked nothing, to nobody, and never have and never would", Rice said on MSNBC.

Rice did not detail which Trump officials she unmasked or why, but current and former US officials have told ABC News it happened on a number of occasions.

Ms. Rice would have had no obvious need to unmask Trump campaign officials other than political curiosity. The identities of Americans who talk with those foreigners, or who are discussed in conversations between two non-U.S. persons, are masked in intelligence reports. Trump said in an interview with The New York Times this week.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told NPR's Mary Louise Kelly on Thursday that he and his committee would pursue the evidence in their investigation wherever it leads, but that so far nothing substantiates the White House's Rice storyline.

Nunes has apologized for the way he presented his information, but that hasn't stopped Democratic and Republican leaders alike from questioning his ability to oversee a fair investigation of the Russian Federation matter.

The House Intelligence Committee's ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, praised Nunes' recusal.

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