Wednesday, Susan Rice, the former National Security Adviser under President Obama, declined a request from Senator Lindsey Graham to testify in a judiciary subcommittee hearing regarding potential Russian interference.
A letter obtained by CNN exclusively from Susan Rice’s lawyer outlines Rice’s reasoning for not appearing. The letter was addressed to Sen. Graham and Sen. Whitehouse.
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A source familiar with Rice’s discussions told CNN that when Graham invited her, Rice believed it was a bipartisan overture and was prepared to accept. However, Whitehouse indicated to her that the invitation was made without his agreement, as he believed her presence was not relevant to the topic of the hearing, according to the source.
Rice considered the invitation a “diversionary play” to distract attention from the investigation into Russian election interference, including contacts between Trump allies and Russians during the campaign, the source said.Graham first told CNN before the letter was sent that he had invited Rice before the Senate panel to determine whether the Obama administration “tried to politicize intelligence” — part of his broader investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections.Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper are set to testify.Despite declining the appearance, Rice’s lawyer assured Graham and Whitehouse in the letter that she was “prepared to assist Congressional inquiries into Russian election interference because of the important national interests at stake, provided they are conducted in a bipartisan manner, and, as appropriate, in classified session.”
The current concern is that Rice acted “improperly” as national security adviser by gathering the identities of Trump administration/transition officials. Rice is now infamous for the unmasking scandal as well the Benghazi scandal and many other scandals.