Declassified Susan Rice Email On Michael Flynn Shows Obama Wanted ‘By The Book’ Investigation
The full text of an email that Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice sent herself on President Donald Trump‘s inauguration day was just declassified by the White House – and is now being scrutinized by both Republicans and Democrats.
The e-mail contains information regarding the FBI’s probe into incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn‘s frequent exchanges with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The text shows Rice detailing former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey‘s course of action in the case.
Due to Flynn’s unusually frequent exchanges with Kislyak, Comey expressed his concerns about sharing classified material with the Trump team. Although no proof of Flynn’s misconduct was available at the time, the FBI director still had reservations about the frequency of their talks.
In the e-mail, Rice recorded the White House meeting following an intelligence briefing on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections. The meeting took place on January 5, 2017 and both Vice President Joe Biden and Obama participating.
During the briefing, Obama clarified that it was imperative that the issue was “handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement ‘by the book’.”
Republicans have accused Obama of “spying” on the incoming administration, saying that the phrase “by the book” implied previous instances of irregular law enforcement.
However, Rice contradicted the allegations later in the e-mail. “The president stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective,” she continued.
Additionally, Rice memorialized Comey’s response to Obama:
“From a National Security Perspective, Comey said he does have some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian ambassador Kislyak. Comey said that could be an issue as it relates to sharing sensitive information.” President Obama asked if Comey was saying that the NSC should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn. Comey replied ‘potentially.’ He added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that ‘the level of communication is unusual.’ 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 that he would.”
A spokesperson from Rice’s team said that the e-mail only shows that the Obama administration handled the case properly and did not interfere in the FBI investigation on Russia.
“Furthermore, the email makes clear that the Obama administration did not change the way it briefed Michael Flynn — but rather that President Obama asked Director Comey ‘to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team,'” the spokesperson concluded.