Trump condemns Rice’s unmasking: ‘What she did was wrong’

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President Trump ripped former national security adviser Susan Rice on Thursday for unmasking the names of his top aides in an intelligence report.

“She’s not supposed to be doing that, and what she did was wrong,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “We’ve been saying that. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. She wasn’t supposed to be doing that — the unmasking and the surveillance. I heard she admitted that yesterday.”

CNN reported on Wednesday that Rice told House investigators that in December — after Trump had won the election and before his inauguration — she authorized the unmasking of the identities of his advisers Michael Flynn, Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner in an intelligence report, revealing them internally.

Rice said she did so because the three were meeting with United Arab Emirates (UAE) crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, who had apparently not informed the Obama administration that he was traveling to New York City. Nahyan was not required to do so, but Rice said it would have been standard diplomatic procedure at the time.


Rice says she ordered the unmasking to find out why Nahyan had come to the U.S. and that the revelation he was meeting with Bannon, Flynn and Kushner was incidental to that effort.

The New York meeting preceded an effort by the UAE to assist in setting up a back-channel line of communication between Trump’s team and Russia.

Rice’s story to Congress is different from what she has said in public interviews previously.

In an April interview with NPR, Rice said she had no idea what House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was talking about when he claimed that some Trump officials had been caught up in the surveillance of foreign officials.

“I know nothing about this,” Rice said at the time. “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today.”

Conservatives are questioning Rice’s motives and arguing that there was no national security reason to unmask the names.

According to the CNN report, the group was meeting about Iran, Yemen and Middle East peace.

But lawmakers seemed content that there was nothing illegal about Rice unmasking the names and said she had been cooperative in her dealings with them.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday that she spent two-and-a-half hours with House investigators, and that it wasn’t fair to focus solely on the unmasking portion of her testimony.

Gowdy said the question of whether it is appropriate to unmask individuals in an intelligence report is a policy issue, not a question of whether a crime was committed.

“I think it’s important that when a witness does a good job you tell people she did a good job and when she doesn’t do a good job you tell them that, too,” Gowdy said. “She did a good job.”

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