Trump says former Obama official may have committed a crime

In response to GOP criticism of Rice, liberals pull the race card

Unmasking is the word of the week in Washington, D.C.

Bloomberg News reported on Monday that President Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, accessed numerous intelligence reports covering wiretap intercepts of conversations Russian officials had with members of the Trump campaign and transition teams.

A spokesperson for Rice later called the claim "ludicrous". "I think it's going to be the biggest story". The President offered no evidence to back up the allegation.

Later in the show, MSNBC political analyst David Corn accused Republicans of "defaming" Ms. Rice "because she's a woman".

That was before she found herself at the center of the vortex of allegations regarding wiretapping and leaking of classified information related to President Donald Trump.

Critics of the atmosphere prevailing throughout the Obama administration's previous year in office point to former Obama Deputy Defense Secretary Evelyn Farkas who admitted in a March 2 television interview on MSNBC that she "was urging my former colleagues" to "get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration".

Intelligence officials said any requests that Rice may have made would have been handled by the intelligence agency responsible for the report, which in most cases would have been the National Security Agency.

Senior government officials who receive highly sensitive intelligence can ask about the identity of USA persons, including their names, to get a better understanding of the intelligence.

When a name is unmasked it is only provided to the official who requested it, and therefore unmasking is not equivalent to leaking the name.

Axelrod also said that Trump should have prepped up for the very important meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, rather than "calling reporters in to level gratuitous, outrageous charges".

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Moreover, she and her partisans insist, seeking and achieving this "unmasking" (from either the director of the National Security Agency or the FBI) was entirely within her legal right as national-security adviser. "And if it's true she was doing this for any period of time, there's no other reason than political", explains Rep. Pete King (R-New York).

In other words she had seen reports about people associated to Trump's campaign and transition that were accidentally surveilled due to their dealings with Russian government officials and nationals.

This week on Twitter, Trump called attention to a link on the Drudge Report, a conservative website, that described Rice as having ordered "spy docs" on him.

Waurishuk said he was most dismayed that "this is now using national intelligence assets and capabilities to spy on the elected, yet-to-be-seated president".

John Culhane, a professor at Widener University Delaware Law School, said he thought Rice could have a credible libel lawsuit against Trump.

"Absolutely false. The intelligence community, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has made that very clear", she said.

"I think he shouldn't have settled; personally I think he shouldn't have settled", Trump said of O'Reilly. "Yes, I think." He did not indicate what crime he felt she might have committed. There has been absolutely nothing coming out of that.

The Trump White House has been particularly incensed that intercepted conversations between Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and Russia's ambassador to the USA surfaced in news reports before the inauguration. "She was the National Security Advisor reading a report of foreign officials discussing USA persons coming into WH, this isn't odd or wrong", Bakos wrote. "Hopefully, at the end, we will find out what happened and they will issue a report, I hope, on a bipartisan basis".

Nunes was heavily criticized for making the announcement to the press and briefing the White House before he shared the information with the rest of the intelligence committee.

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