>> In the latest twist in a sprawling and increasingly politicized probe into Russian interference in the 2016 US election, President Trump on Wednesday suggesting, without any evidence, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice may have committed a crime. Trump making the claim in an interview with the New York Times.
Rice, who served under President Barack Obama, recently the focus of Republican outrage. As national security advisor, Rice received intelligence briefings in 2016 that included reports that certain US citizens, including members of the Trump transition team, may have been communicating with agents of foreign governments. Rice was legally authorized to ask for the identities of these individuals, a practice called unmasking.
But reports she asked for this unmasking are fuelling accusations Rice may have leaked the names of Trump aides who had contact with Russian Officials. One such aide, former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign after it was reported he'd had repeated contact with a Russian Ambassador and may have misled the Vice President about the nature of those communications.
Rice has vehemently denied leaking anything. It is a crime to leak classified information. Trump, on Wednesday, upping the ante on the Rice allegations, telling the New York Times, quote, I think it's going to be the biggest story. The President did not say whether he'd personally seen any evidence that implicated Rice, but promised to explain himself, quote, at the right time.
Trump's accusation comes a month after the President made an unsubstantiated claim that Barack Obama ordered a wiretap on Trump Tower. A claim for which Trump, so far, has failed to produce any proof.