Two top Republican senators want to know why President Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice sent an ‘unusual’ email to herself on President Trump‘s Inauguration day, which recounted an Oval Office meeting about the Russia investigation.
Republicans Sens. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham, who chairs a Judiciary subcommittee, penned a letter to Rice and made it public Monday, asking her to answer questions about the note, dated January 20, 2017.
The message, which includes redactions, features a January 5 meeting between Rice, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.
Two Republicans senators are calling attention to an email President Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice (pictured) sent herself on President Trump’s inauguration day, detailing a meeting she had on January 5 in which the Russia probe was discussed
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (left) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (right), who chairs a Judiciary subcommittee sent a letter to Susan Rice asking questions about the email and if the meeting had anything to do with the so-called ‘dirty dossier’
‘President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book,”‘ Rice wrote. ‘The president stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from the law enforcement perspective.’
‘He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book,’ Rice continued.
At that point in the meeting, Rice indicates that Obama then spoke of national security concerns.
‘President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia,’ Rice said.
The next portion of her email remains classified and is blacked out.
‘The president asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team,’ Rice said. ‘Comey said he would.’
In writing to Rice, Grassley and Graham said, ‘It strikes us odd that, among your activities in the final moments on the final day of the Obama administration, you would feel the need to send yourself such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation.’
The two senators also note that while Rice said that Obama instructed Comey to proceed ‘by the book,’ the Republicans claim that ‘substantial questions have arisen about whether officials at the FBI, as well as the Justice Department and the State Department, actually did proceed “by the book.”‘
Grassley and Graham then asked Rice a series of questions asking her to get back to them by February 22.
A number of the senators’ questions have to do with Christopher Steele, the ex-British spy, and the so-called ‘dirty dossier,’ which was financed partially by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, after a Republican rival of Trump originally funded the opposition research into the now-president’s links with Russia.
From Rice they want to know if Comey brought up Steele or the dossier and whether the FBI chief discussed the bureau’s relationship with the former spy.
A source familiar with the content of the meeting told Fox News that it had nothing to do with Steele nor the dossier, but rather how the FBI and the intelligence community had to handle relations with the Trump transition team in light of the Russia probe.
Capitol Hill Republicans have been keen to use the dossier as proof that the Russia investigation started under false pretenses, however the much-discussed, GOP-written memo that President Trump allowed to be released publicly dispelled that theory.
The four-page memo released earlier this month indicated that the FBI’s counterintelligence probe into Russia and Trump’s associates was ‘triggered’ by aide George Papadopoulos, who was told by a British professor with ties to Russia that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Papadopoulos relayed that gossip to an Australian diplomat, who, in turn, informed the U.S. about what he had heard once Democratic emails started being released.