Tonight, CNN reports that members and staff of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have reviewed Susan Rice’s requests to “unmask” persons subject to FISA court surveillance, and found “nothing unusual or illegal” in her requests.
President Trump and former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes insisted that the former Obama Administration official was using her position and capacity to gather intelligence on Trump transition team members who had been caught in (not targeted by) wiretapped communications.
Trump said Rice’s conduct was a “massive story” and that Rice had broken the law. Her record of requests to unmask the names of Trump officials caught in surveillance efforts was first reported to the White House General Counsel’s office by the National Security Counsel.
Nunes, who has since recused himself from the House Intelligence Committee investigation, was then the first to claim that staffers in Trump’s transition team had been identified by US intelligence on wiretaps. He made that claim in a public press conference, refusing to bring that information (or identify his sources) to members of his own party on the House Intelligence Committee. The night before he made that claim, Nunes traveled to the White House in a shady middle-of-the-night incident that only his staffers confirmed; no one at the White House has revealed who Nunes met with that night or even named the person who let him onto White House grounds.
The day after, Nunes called a press conference and completely upended the House Intelligence Committee investigation with the news. Nunes’ press conference came just after it was revealed that the FBI was probing contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign and transition teams. Nunes was a member of the Trump transition team.
Bloomberg reported that Rice made “dozens” of requests for the identities of Trump transition team members. They say that knowing the identity of the transition team member could be politically valuable, providing plans and meeting schedules for the nascent Administration. Bloomberg says the reports she requested were “summaries of monitored conversations,” some of which contained communications between the Trump transition team and surveillance targets.
Rice is adamant that she committed no crimes. She said her requests were within her role in the Obama Administration and “absolutely not for any political purposes, to spy, or anything.”