Susan Rice: Trump’s motivations a ‘legitimate question’

Susan Rice: Trump’s motivations a ‘legitimate question’
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Former Obama administration official Susan Rice said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE's rhetoric and actions toward Russia raise questions about his motivations, particularly after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I don’t know what his motivations are. I think that’s a legitimate question," Rice said on ABC's "This Week."

Rice, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser under former President Obama, noted that Trump has cast doubt on the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, called the European Union a "foe" and voiced complaints about the NATO alliance.


Those actions, coupled with Trump's remarks standing next to Putin in Finland last week, raise concerns, Rice said.

"I mean, it was a series of extraordinary capitulations that really do legitimately call into question what is going on," Rice said.

She called it a "historic mistake" for Trump to hold a meeting with Putin with no aides present for roughly two hours. 

"There never should have been a one-on-one meeting of any length," Rice said. "And now we are left to wonder and even the president’s Cabinet members are left to wonder what exactly happened."

Trump endured a week of harsh criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for his performance in Finland with Putin, and for the statements that followed in which the president seemingly continued to embrace Russia and reject the U.S. intelligence community.

Trump or the White House on multiple occasions walked back or clarified Trump's remarks about Russian interference or about his meeting with Putin, including a request from the Russian president to question American citizens.

Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHow President Biden can hit a home run Former Trump intel chief Coats introduces Biden nominee Haines at hearing Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security MORE said last Thursday he wouldn't have recommended the one-on-one meeting, and noted he is still unsure what Trump and Putin discussed.