Susan Rice tries posterior-covering, pokes a hornet's nest instead
When the true story of the Obama administration – the constitutional crimes, the weaponizing of the IRS and the intelligence community, and the help given to Iran’s fanatical dictatorship – is finally told, Susan Rice will be seen as a tragi-comic figure. She’s willing to lie in public, most notoriously on five Sunday morning shows claiming the Benghazi assault was based on a YouTube video seen by a handful of people worldwide, even when those lies are easily exposed.
The truth is that Rice is a henchwoman. She’ll do whatever is asked of her in support of those who elevated her to power. But because she’s not that bright, she causes problems worse than the original ones she’s trying to fix.
That is the only explanation I can see for the extraordinarily “curious” email she sent to herself in the very last minutes of the Obama administration on Inauguration Day. That email has drawn the attention of Senator Chuck Grassley, and now Rice has a big problem (as in needing expensive lawyers) on her hands.
Tyler O’Neil summarizes the situation at PJ Media:
On the very last day President Barack Obama was in office (January 20, 2017), National Security Advisor Susan Rice sent herself an email purportedly recording a January 5 meeting with the president and other key staff members. In that email, she displayed a hesitance to share information on Russia with the incoming Trump team, and insisted that every aspect of the Russia issue would be carried out "by the book."
Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
"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’. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective," Rice wrote. "He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book."
The only reason people send emails to themselves (or write a memo for the files) is to get things on the record of an exculpatory intent. A piece of evidence, in this case, that President Obama wasn’t weaponizing the intelligence agencies. Except that the “evidence” is her own words about what Obama supposedly said weeks before she wrote the memo.
Senator Grassley, the seemingly laid back Iowan with sharp teeth and an even sharper mind, fired off an email to Rice that asks her 12 questions which she now wishes she'd never provoked:
The Honorable Susan Rice
Senior Fellow, Belfer Center
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Kathryn Ruemmler, Esq.
Latham and Watkins LLP
555 Eleventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Dear Ambassador Rice:
The Senate Judiciary Committee has a constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the FBI and the broader Department of Justice. Part of that duty involves ensuring that law enforcement efforts are conducted without improper political influence. Accordingly, the Committee has been investigating the FBI’s relationship with Christopher Steele during the time his work was funded by Hillary for America and the Democratic National Committee, as well as the FBI’s reliance on his unverified third-hand allegations in the Bureau’s representations to courts.
As part of that effort, the Committee sent a request to the National Archives for records of meetings between President Obama and then-FBI Director Comey regarding the FBI’s investigation of allegations of collusion between associates of Mr. Trump and the Russian government. In response, the Committee received classified and unclassified versions of an email you sent to yourself on January 20, 2017 – President Trump’s inauguration day. If the timestamp is correct, you sent this email to yourself at 12:15pm, presumably a very short time before you departed the White House for the last time.
In this email to yourself, you purport to document a meeting that had taken place more than two weeks before, on January 5, 2017. You wrote:
On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.
That meeting reportedly included a discussion of the Steele dossier and the FBI’s investigation of its claims. Your email continued:
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”. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.
From a national security perspective, however, 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.
The next part of your email remains classified. After that, you wrote:
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. Comey said he would.
It strikes us as 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. In addition, despite your claim that President Obama repeatedly told Mr. Comey to proceed “by the book,” substantial questions have arisen about whether officials at the FBI, as well as at the Justice Department and the State Department, actually did proceed “by the book.”
In order for the Committee to further assess the situation, please respond to the following by February 22, 2018:
- Did you send the email attached to this letter to yourself? Do you have any reason to dispute the timestamp of the email?
- When did you first become aware of the FBI’s investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia?
- When did you become aware of any surveillance activities, including FISA applications, undertaken by the FBI in conducting that investigation? At the time you wrote this email to yourself, were you aware of either the October 2016 FISA application for surveillance of Carter Page or the January 2017 renewal?
- Did anyone instruct, request, suggest, or imply that you should send yourself the aforementioned Inauguration Day email memorializing President Obama’s meeting with Mr. Comey about the Trump/Russia investigation? If so, who and why?
- Is the account of the January 5, 2017 meeting presented in your email accurate? Did you omit any other portions of the conversation?
- Other than that email, did you document the January 5, 2017 meeting in any way, such as contemporaneous notes or a formal memo? To the best of your knowledge, did anyone else at that meeting take notes or otherwise memorialize the meeting?
- During the meeting, did Mr. Comey or Ms. Yates mention potential press coverage of the Steele dossier? If so, what did they say?
- During the meeting, did Mr. Comey describe the status of the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele, or the basis for that status?
- When and how did you first become aware of the allegations made by Christopher Steele?
- When and how did you first become aware that the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded Mr. Steele’s efforts?
- You wrote that President Obama stressed that he was “not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective.” Did President Obama ask about, initiate, or instruct anything from any other perspective relating to the FBI’s investigation?
- Did President Obama have any other meetings with Mr. Comey, Ms. Yates, or other government officials about the FBI’s investigation of allegations of collusion between Trump associates and Russia? If so, when did these occur, who participated, and what was discussed?
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please contact Patrick Davis of Chairman Grassley’s staff at (202) 224-5225 or Lee Holmes of Chairman Graham’s staff at (202) 224-5972 if you have any questions.
Charles E. Grassley Lindsey O. Graham
Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
Committee on the Judiciary
Enclosure: as stated.
cc: The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Committee on the Judiciary
The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse
Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
Committee on the Judiciary
When she comes to testify about this under oath, the results will be quite entertaining. I bet her former boss, President Obama, is not looking forward to it.