Obama’s national security advisor Susan Rice has revealed why she unmasked senior Trump officials. According to a report from CNN, Rice told House investigators that she unmasked the names in order to “understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year.”
— CNN (@CNN) September 13, 2017
The New York meeting preceded a separate effort by the UAE to facilitate a back-channel communication between Russia and the incoming Trump White House.
The crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, arrived in New York last December in the transition period before Trump was sworn into office for a meeting with several top Trump officials, including Michael Flynn, the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his top strategist Steve Bannon, sources said.
The Obama administration felt misled by the United Arab Emirates, which had failed to mention that Zayed was coming to the United States even though it’s customary for foreign dignitaries to notify the US government about their travels, according to several sources familiar with the matter. Rice, who served as then-President Obama’s national security adviser in his second term, told the House Intelligence Committee last week that she requested the names of the Americans mentioned in the classified report be revealed internally, a practice officials in both parties say is common.
Rice’s previously undisclosed revelation in a classified setting shines new light on a practice that had come under sharp criticism from the committee chairman, California Rep. Devin Nunes, and President Donald Trump, who previously accused Rice of committing a crime.
But her explanation appears to have satisfied some influential Republicans on the committee, undercutting both Nunes and Trump and raising new questions about whether any Trump associates tried to arrange back-channel discussions with the Russians.
“I didn’t hear anything to believe that she did anything illegal,” Florida Rep. Tom Rooney, a Republican helping to lead the panel’s Russia investigation, told CNN of Rice’s testimony. He declined to discuss any of the contents of her classified remarks.
Rice has not issued public comments on her testimony, but it looks like she’s in the clear. Big shocker there.