Obama-era national security adviser Susan Rice, who has faced allegations of spying on the Trump campaign last year, met privately on Friday with the Senate Intelligence committee in its ongoing investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“Ambassador Rice met voluntarily with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today as part of the committee’s bipartisan investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election,” said Erin Pelton, a spokesperson for Ms. Rice, who also served as the Obama administration’s United Nations ambassador. “Ambassador Rice appreciates the Committee’s efforts to examine Russia’s efforts to interfere, which violated one of the core foundations of American democracy.”
Earlier this year Ms. Rice strongly denied accusations from the Trump administration and House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes that she “unmasked” or illegally identified — Trump campaign and transition aides caught up in U.S. intelligence intercepts of Russian interference during and after last year’s presidential election.
She did admit to requesting the unmasking of some names redacted in raw intelligence reports but argued that the requests were well within her job duties as national security adviser and were in no way driven by political motivations to know which figures from the Trump campaign were being discussed.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly complained that the unmasking efforts and the Obama White House’s handling of the Russian hacking probe have not received sufficient attention in the various investigations on Capitol Hill and by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.
Spokespeople for the Senate panel normally decline to discuss closed-door hearing and offered no details on Friday.
Last month, House Intelligence committee sources told the Washington Times that the National Security Council was slow-walking the delivery of records subpoenaed in relation to Ms. Rice and that the material had been transferred to a heavily secure archive for Mr. Obama’s yet-to-be-built presidential library nearby Chicago. The files, the source said, could “remain closed to the public for five years.”
The Senate Intelligence committee is pushing to interview as many high-profile witnesses as possible before lawmakers break for summer recess next month. In addition to Ms. Rice, members this week also questioned former Obama-era officials — Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
On Monday, committee members are scheduled to privately interview President Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner, who will likely face intense questions regarding numerous meetings he held with Russian officials during and after last year’s campaign.
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