U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he thinks Susan Rice, a former top adviser to President Barack Obama, committed a crime by seeking the identities of Trump associates mentioned in intercepted communications, but he declined requests for evidence, the New York Times reported.
In an interview, Trump declined to tell the New York Times whether he had reviewed intelligence to bolster his claim about Rice but said he would explain himself “at the right time.”
Rice said she had no immediate comment on the president’s remarks when contacted by Reuters.
Later on Wednesday, Erin Pelton, a spokesman for Rice, said in an email to Reuters: “I’m not going to dignify the President’s ludicrous charge with a comment.”
Trump and his allies have focused on unsubstantiated reports that Rice, who served as Obama’s national security adviser, disclosed the names of Trump aides swept up in U.S. surveillance of foreign targets.
Rice dismissed the reports as “absolutely false” in an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday.
According to five U.S. intelligence officials, Rice followed standard procedure in requesting the National Security Agency to reveal to her the names of American citizens who had been in contact with Russians whose communications were monitored by U.S. intelligence.
It is unlikely she would have know that any unidentified American had a connection to Trump, the officials said.
As White House national security adviser, Rice could not order the NSA to reveal the identities of any Americans. Instead, she could only request it to do so.
Such requests, which a number of senior officials are authorized to make, trigger a legal and intelligence review by the agency to determine whether revealing the name has potential intelligence value and could expose a security threat to the United States, said one of the officials, who is familiar with the process and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal intelligence procedures.
There is nothing unusual, much less suspicious, about any request by Rice, said another intelligence official, especially since it could have revealed Russian intelligence contacts or agents operating in the United States. This official and two other intelligence officials said the NSA often receives dozens of such requests in a month.
John Culhane, a professor at Widener University Delaware Law School, said he thought Rice could have a credible libel lawsuit against Trump. Though public figures like Rice face a higher standard in bringing such claims, Culhane said she could contend Trump demonstrated a “reckless disregard” for the truth.
But the president typically enjoys immunity from civil lawsuits over official acts, Culhane noted, and a court could find that Trump’s interview with the newspaper was within the scope of his official duties.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Mark Hosenball and John Walcott; Additional reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Tim Ahmann and James Dalgleish)
Babies born near oil and gas wells are up to 70% more likely to have congenital heart defects, new study shows
Researchers at the University of Colorado studied pregnant women who are among the 17 million Americans living within a mile from an active oil or gas well
Proximity to oil and gas sites makes pregnant mothers up to 70 percent more likely to give birth to a baby with congenital heart defects, according to a new study.
Led by Dr. Lisa McKenzie at the University of Colorado, researchers found that the chemicals released from oil and gas wells can have serious and potentially fatal effects on babies born to mothers who live within a mile of an active well site—as about 17 million Americans do.
Mueller testimony ‘is going to be a devastating day for the president’: former White House lawyer
The eyes of the nation will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday when former special counsel Robert Mueller publicly testifies before Congress.
Mueller, who was a federal prosecutor, top DOJ official, and director of the FBI before serving as special counsel, is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning and the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday afternoon.
"As Democrats prepare for the arrival of special counsel Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill next week, their plans for his day of wall-to-wall testimony is becoming clearer: if Donald Trump were anyone but the president, he would be charged with the crimes Mueller uncovered," MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace reported on Friday.
WATCH: Trump blurts out a massive lie about Dem congresswomen — after being asked about Melania
President Donald Trump on Friday falsely accused Democratic congresswomen of using the phrase "evil Jews."
Trump ignited a firestorm over the weekend after saying that the congresswomen of color should "go back" to their countries of origin. At a rally on Wednesday, his supporters chanted "send her back" after Trump attacked one of them, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
But on Friday, Trump insisted the congresswomen were the real racists.
"You know what is racist to me? When somebody goes out and says the horrible things about our country, the people of our country, that are anti-Semitic, that hate everybody, that speak with scorn and hate -- that to me is really a very dangerous thing," Trump said.