- Foreign-policy aide to Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988
- Served on the National Security Council for the Clinton administration
- Former senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
- Foreign-policy advisor to Democratic candidate John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign
- Was nominated in 2008 by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
- Infamously claimed, falsely, that the deadly 9/11/12 terrorist attack against an American diplomatic mission in Benghazi was not a premeditated assault, but rather a “spontaneous reaction” to “a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world”
- Was appointed as President Obama’s top national security adviser in 2013
Born in November 1964 in Washington, DC, Susan Elizabeth Rice graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1986. That same year, she wrote an 86-page book titled A History Deferred, which claimed that because most U.S. students were “taught American history, literature, art, drama, and music largely from a white, western European perspective,” “their grasp of the truth, of reality, is tainted by a myopia of sorts.” “The greatest evil in omitting or misrepresenting Black history, literature, and culture in elementary or secondary education is the unmistakable message it sends to the black child,” Rice elaborated. “The message is ‘your history, your culture, your language and your literature are insignificant. And so are you.’” Published by the Black Student Fund — an advocacy group for which Rice interned — A History Deferred served as a guide for elementary- and secondary-school teachers who aspired to teach “Black Studies” from an Afrocentric perspective.
Rice was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and subsequently attended New College, Oxford, where she earned a master’s degree in philosophy in 1988 and a Ph.D. in the same discipline two years later.
During the 1988 presidential campaign, Rice served as a foreign-policy aide to Democrat candidate Michael Dukakis.
While at Oxford in 1990, Rice wrote a 426-page dissertation praising, as “a model and a masterpiece in the evolution of international peacekeeping,” the 1979-80 British peacekeeping operation that had led to the political ascendancy of Zimbabwe’s Marxist dictator, Robert Mugabe. In her dissertation, Rice lauded Mugabe as a “pragmatic, intelligent, sensible, gentle, balanced man” who possessed considerable “patience and restraint.”
In the early 1990s Rice was a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm.
From 1993-97, Rice served on the National Security Council for the Bill Clinton administration. From 1993-95 she was also the administration’s director for international organizations and peacekeeping, and from 1995-97 she was both special assistant to the President and senior director for African affairs. Rice’s political mentor during these years was Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
According to an American Spectator analysis of Rice career in government:
“[Rice] epitomized the quietism of 1990s foreign policy. There is no record of her viewing with alarm the signs of things to come: neither the civil war in Algeria pitting jihadists against a military regime, nor the forebodings of jihadi-linked terrorism in Sudan, Kenya, or Somalia, nor the encroaching disaster in ex-Southern Rhodesia, which, renamed Zimbabwe and ruled by the despot Robert Mugabe, was well on its way to the catatonic dictatorship into which it has fully evolved, or rather descended.”
During the Rwandan genocide of mid-1994 — in which some 800,000 people were massacred in a 100-day period — Rice was a key player in the Clinton administration’s decision not to intervene in a peacekeeping role, so as to avoid becoming embroiled in a politically risky endeavor where no strategic U.S. interests were in play. (Classified documents prove conclusively that Rice and her fellow Clinton administration officials were — contrary to claims they made soon after the period of mass slaughter in Rwanda — fully aware of how extensive the Rwandan carnage was.)
In a related measure, Rice persuaded the administration to purge the State Department’s and CIA’s Rwanda-related memos of such terms as “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.” “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November congressional election?” she wondered aloud. Then-lieutenant colonel Tony Marley recalls that he and his colleagues at the State Department “could believe that people would wonder that, but not that they would actually voice it.” Rice today claims not to remember having posed the question, but concedes that “if I said it, it was completely inappropriate, as well as irrelevant.”
In 1996 Rice helped persuade President Clinton to rebuff Sudan’s offer to turn Osama bin Laden, who was then living there, over to U.S. authorities. Rice reasoned that because Sudan had a poor human-rights record, the U.S. should have no dealings with that nation’s government — not even to obtain custody of the al Qaeda leader or to receive intelligence information on terrorists from Sudanese authorities. She viewed such intelligence as inherently untrustworthy. Bin Laden subsequently moved his terrorist operations to Afghanistan, from where he would mastermind the 9/11 attacks.
Rice’s actions in the wake of two terrorist attacks against American interests in 1998 are highly noteworthy. In the spring of that year, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Prudence Bushnell, sent an urgent letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright begging for additional security at the embassy, in light of growing terrorist threats and a warning that she (Bushnell) herself was the target of an assassination plot. The State Department denied this request, as well as a number of previous ones, on grounds that beefed-up security measures would be too costly. A few months later, on August 7, 1998, Islamic terrorists simultaneously blew up the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania with car bombs, killing more than 200 people. Within 24 hours, Rice appeared on PBS as a Clinton administration spokesperson and falsely claimed that the administration had “maintain[ed] a high degree of security at all of our embassies at all times.” In addition, she stated that there had been “no telephone warning or call of any sort like that, that might have alerted either embassy just prior to the blast.”
In 2002 Rice became a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy and Global Economy & Development programs.
In a 2003 speech, Rice acknowledged that America’s war on terror had gotten “underway well before 9/11,” by which time the U.S. had already been “attacked many times in many places — New York in 1993, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Yemen to name just a few.” Nonetheless, she maintained that President Clinton’s tepid responses to those attacks were sufficient.
“One of the major steps Kerry suggested for dealing with the Middle East was to appoint James Baker and Jimmy Carter as negotiators. When furor erupted at the prospect of two of the most ardent foes of Israel being suggested to basically ride ‘roughshod’ over Israel, Kerry backtracked and blamed his staff for the idea. His staff was Susan Rice.”
In 2008, Rice served as a senior foreign-policy advisor to Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Immediately after Obama and running mate Joe Biden won the White House in the November election, Rice was named to the Obama-Biden Transition Project’s advisory board.
On December 1, 2008, President-elect Obama nominated Rice as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, making her the first African American woman ever to hold that post. Moreover, Obama upgraded the position to cabinet level.
Reasoning (contrary to much strong evidence) from the premise that poverty breeds terrorism, Rice joined the Obama administration with a firm belief that U.S. taxpayers should fund nearly $100 billion per year of new-development-aid programs under the auspices of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Project — a massive wealth-redistribution initiative designed to transfer money from the world’s developed states to its poor states, many of them in Africa.
Rice also called for the use of American military power to intervene — as part of a large, well-funded United Nations peacekeeping force — directly in African conflicts such as the one in the Darfur region of Sudan. Advocating the imposition of a no-fly zone and the bombing of Sudanese aircraft, airfields, and military and intelligence assets, Rice said: “[I]f the United States fails to gain UN support [for these measures], we should act without it.”
Early in his administration, President Obama announced, against Rice’s counsel, that the U.S. would not participate in a scheduled 2009 “World Conference Against Racism” in Durban, South Africa, because that Conference’s official documents contained too many passages critical of Israel, too many restrictions on freedom of expression, and too much language calling for reparations to compensate contemporary nonwhites for the evils of Western slavery centuries ago. Rice, by contrast, held that U.S. participation in UN efforts such as the Durban Conference would serve the positive function of showing the world that Americans are willing to denounce the remnants of slavery and colonialism from a global platform.
On June 11, 2010, it was reported that Rice had played an important role in pushing the Obama administration to support a United Nations investigation into a deadly May 31 altercation between Israeli commandos and a number of passengers aboard a Gaza-bound, Free Gaza Movement ship whose crew had refused to comply with Israeli requirements that its cargo be submitted for inspection.
In February 2011, Rice stated: “For more than four decades, [Israeli settlement activity] has undermined security … corroded hopes for peace … [and] violate[d] international commitments.” During testimony she gave two months later, Rice reiterated that sentiment, asserting that “Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate.”
Rice’s Assessment of the Deadly September 11, 2012 Terror Attack Against a U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi, Libya
On September 11, 2012, Islamist protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, where they destroyed the American flag and replaced it with a black Islamist flag that read, “There is one God, Allah, and Mohammad is his prophet.” The protesters said they were angry over an obscure YouTube film — known alternately as Innocence of Muslims or Muhammad, Prophet of the Muslims — that was critical of the Prophet Muhammad and had been produced recently in the U.S.
Later on September 11, 2012, a large group of heavily armed Islamic terrorists attacked a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya with much greater violence. In the process, they killed the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, 52-year-old Chris Stevens, and three other Americans. For nearly two weeks, Rice and the rest of the Obama administration consistently characterized what had occurred in Benghazi not as an act of terrorism, but as a spontaneous, unplanned uprising that evolved unexpectedly from what had begun as a low-level protest against the aforementioned YouTube video. In reality, however, within mere hours after the incident, U.S. intelligence agencies had already gained more than enough evidence to conclude unequivocally that the attack on the mission was a planned terrorist incident, and that the video had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Rice made big headlines on September 16, 2012, when she appeared on five separate Sunday television news programs where she claimed, falsely, that according to the “best information at present,” the deadly attack in Benghazi was not a premeditated assault but rather a “spontaneous reaction” to “a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.” For example, she told Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation:
“We’ll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy … sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that—in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent…. We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.”
On December 13, 2012, Rice — having sparked much public controversy with her false statements regarding Benghazi — withdrew herself from consideration for the post of Secretary of State (to replace the outgoing Hillary Clinton). In a letter to President Obama, Rice said that her nomination process (before the U.S. Senate) “would be lengthy, disruptive and costly — to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” and that “the tradeoff is simply not worth it to our country.” Later in the letter, she aimed a transparent jab at Republicans who opposed her nomination: “The position of Secretary of State should never be politicized.”
In June 2013 President Obama appointed Rice as his top national security adviser — a post that did not require Senate confirmation. Rice replaced the outgoing Tom Donilon, who had announced his resignation. As author and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters wrote at the time: “Bringing Rice into the Executive Branch’s innermost circle rewards her for being a good soldier in taking the fall on Benghazi, and it makes it virtually impossible for Congress to subpoena her for a grilling, thanks to our government’s separation of powers. Sharp move, Mr. President.”
In a December 2013 interview with 60 Minutes, Rice was asked whether she had any second thoughts or regrets about having helped to advance the Obama administration’s (false) narrative claiming that the 9/11/12 attacks in Benghazi were spontaneous and unplanned outgrowths of protests against an anti-Muslim YouTube video, rather than carefully orchestrated terrorist events. “I don’t have time to think about a false controversy,” she replied. “In the midst of all of the swirl about things like talking points, the administration’s been working very, very hard across the globe to review our security of our embassies and our facilities. That’s what we ought to be focused on.”
Rice was also asked why she — rather than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — had appeared on the five Sunday television news programs on September 16, 2012 to give the administration’s version of the events. “She [Mrs. Clinton] had just gone through an incredibly painful and stressful week,” said Rice. “Secretary Clinton — as our chief diplomat — had to reach out to the families, had to greet the bodies upon their arrival at Andrews Air Force Base. If I were her, the last thing I would have wanted to do is five Sunday morning talk shows. So I think it’s perfectly understandable. So when the White House asked me, I agreed to do it.”
Rice Speaks About American Soldier Bo Bergdahl
Rice sparked additional controversy when she spoke out in support of a May 31, 2014 deal in which President Obama freed five senior Taliban commanders and high-value terrorists who had been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay since 2002, in exchange for the release of Bowe Bergdahl, an American Army soldier who had deserted the military in 2009 and spent the next five years with the Taliban. (Eight other American soldiers were subsequently killed in the process of trying to find and recover Bergdahl.) Just before his 2009 desertion, Bergdahl had emailed this message to his father: “I am ashamed to be an American…. The horror that is America is disgusting.” On June 1, 2014, Susan Rice was interviewed on ABC television about the Bergdahl case and said:
“Certainly anybody who’s been held in those conditions, in captivity for five years, has paid an extraordinary price. But that is really not the point. The point is that he’s back…. He is going to be safely reunited with his family. He served the United States with honor and distinction. And we’ll have the opportunity eventually to learn what has transpired in the past years, but what’s most important now is his health and well being, that he have the opportunity to recover in peace and security and be reunited with his family. Which is why this is such a joyous day.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Rice said:
“Sergeant Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield…. We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do our utmost to bring back our men and women who are taken in battle, and we did that in this instance.”1
Eventually — on March 25, 2015 — the U.S. Army announced that Bergdahl was being charged with desertion.
Rice’s False Statement About Turkey’s Assistance in the War Against ISIS
In an October 12, 2014 interview on Meet the Press, Rice responded to a question about Turkey’s obvious lack of cooperation in the U.S. fight against the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) terrorist group which had recently overrun vast swaths of Syria and Iraq with a brutal campaign of mass slaughter, crucifixions, beheadings, rapes, and enslavement. Said Rice:
“[F]irst of all, the Turks have, this just in the last several days, made a commitment that they will in the first instance allow the United States and our partners to use Turkish bases and territory to train — hold on, let me explain this carefully — to train the moderate Syrian opposition forces. So that is a new commitment. They have now joined Saudi Arabia in giving the go-head for that important contribution. In addition, they have said that their facilities inside of Turkey can be used by the coalition forces, American and otherwise, to engage in activities inside of Iraq and Syria. That’s a new commitment, and one that we very much welcome.”
But Rice’s assertion was a lie. The Turkish government swiftly responded to her claims by declaring that no decision had been reached regarding the use of its military bases by the U.S. to engage in activities inside of Iraq and Syria. According to the Turkish prime minister’s office, Turkey had agreed only to the training of supposedly “moderate” Syrian rebels on Turkish soil.
Rice’s Speech on National Security
On February 6, 2015, Rice delivered a speech on national security in which she made the following remarks:
- Regarding the country’s economic and political condition: “As a nation, we are stronger than we’ve been in a long time. Since President Obama took office, we arrested the worst financial crisis and repaired the biggest collapse in world trade since the Great Depression. In 2010, unemployment in the United States was almost 10 percent. Today, businesses have added more than 11 million new jobs, and unemployment is down to 5.7 percent. In 2010, our deficit topped $1 trillion; today, we’ve cut that in half, to less than $500 billion. Our kids are graduating at higher rates, and millions more Americans have healthcare. We’ve unlocked a domestic energy boom that has made us the world’s number one producer of oil and gas, strengthening our energy security – with huge ripple effects for global oil markets and geopolitics. We’ve brought home almost 170,000 American troops, responsibly ending two long and costly ground wars and re-purposing our military strength so we can better respond to emerging threats and crises.”
- Regarding the terrorist threat: “[T]oo often, what’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective. Yes, there’s a lot going on. Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or the Cold War. We can’t afford to be buffeted by alarmism and an instantaneous news cycle.”
- Regarding equality: “President Obama has deepened our commitment to promoting that basic American value: equality…. If we reduce disparities, which can lead to instability and violence, we increase our shared security…. [W]e champion the rights of vulnerable communities—those targeted by abuse or excluded from society—and counter escalating cycles of hatred that can spark violence…. [W]e are committed to seizing the future that lies beyond the crisis of the day and to pursuing a vision of the world as it can and should be.”
Turning a Blind Eye to Russian Cyber Attacks
In their 2018 book, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, investigative reporters David Corn and Michael Isikoff report that in June 2016, Michael Daniel, the director of cybersecurity for the Obama White House, was alarmed to learn that Russian actors had successfully infiltrated critical election infrastructure in a number of U.S. states. According to Business Insider: “Obama administration officials did not believe the Russians had the technological savvy to manipulate the vote count. Rather, they were more concerned hackers could alter voter rolls, registration files, or other processes that could sow doubt about the legitimacy of the election as a whole.”
As evidence of this Russian cyberactivity came to light, Mr. Daniel and Celeste Wallander, the National Security Council’s leading Russia analyst, pushed for the Obama administration to retaliate decisively – e.g., by: (a) conducting NSA-backed cyberattacks targeting the Russian intelligence community and Russia-linked actors; (b) leaking classified intelligence revealing the financial activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his family members; or (c) announcing a joint U.S.-NATO “cyber exercise” designed to show Russia that America and its Western allies were capable of responding forcefully to its illicit activities. But when Rice learned of ideas, she told Daniel: “Don’t get ahead of us,” adding that the U.S. cyber response team should “knock it off” and take no action. Says Business Insider:
“The staffers on Daniel’s cyber response team were baffled when he informed them that they had been told to stand down. When they asked the cybersecurity director why they weren’t taking action, Daniel reportedly told them [that] Rice and the homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, were concerned that then-President Barack Obama would be ‘boxed in’ if news of their deliberations leaked to the press…. The White House’s internal struggle over how to address Russia’s election meddling has been well documented. Last year, The Washington Postreported that when they were faced with the question of how best to respond to Russia’s meddling, one senior official told the outlet, ‘I feel like we sort of choked.’”
Rice’s Role in “Unmasking” Trump-Affiliated Individuals in Intelligence Reports
In April 2017, a blockbuster Bloomberg News report indicated that Rice had requested or directed that the identities of a number of individuals involved with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign be “unmasked” in raw intelligence reports that would then be widely distributed throughout the federal government and its intelligence agencies – a massive and unprecedented violation of standard policy.
Regarding Rice’s actions, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew C. McCarthy wrote:
“The thing to bear in mind is that the White House does not do investigations. Not criminal investigations, not intelligence investigations…. [W]e’ve been told for weeks that any unmasking of people in Trump’s circle that may have occurred had two innocent explanations: (1) the FBI’s investigation of Russian meddling in the election and (2) the need to know, for purposes of understanding the communications of foreign intelligence targets, the identities of Americans incidentally intercepted or mentioned. The unmasking, Obama apologists insist, had nothing to do with targeting Trump or his people.
“That won’t wash. In general, it is the FBI that conducts investigations that bear on American citizens suspected of committing crimes or of acting as agents of foreign powers. In the matter of alleged Russian meddling, the investigative camp also includes the CIA and the NSA…. There would have been no _intelligence _need for Susan Rice to ask for identities to be unmasked. If there had been a real need to reveal the identities — an _intelligence need_based on American interests — the unmasking would have been done by the investigating agencies. The national-security adviser is not an investigator. She is a White House staffer. The president’s staff is a consumer of intelligence, not a generator or collector of it. If Susan Rice was unmasking Americans, it was not to fulfill an intelligence need based on American interests; it was to fulfill a political desire based on Democratic-party interests.”
In sum, McCarthy said that Rice’s actions constituted a “monumental abuse of power.”
Rice Says That North Korea Should Be Accepted As a Nuclear Power
In August 2017, Rice said that President Donald Trump should accept North Korea as a nuclear power, despite the fact that North Korean President Kim Jong Un was repeatedly threatening to launch nuclear missiles into American cities. “History shows that we can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea — the same way we tolerated the far greater threat of thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War,” Rice wrote in a New York Times op-ed wherein she criticized Trump’s recent warning that any nuclear provocation by North Korea would be met with military “fire and fury.” Calling Trump’s rhetoric “unprecedented and especially dangerous,” Rice added: “John Kelly, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, must assert control over the White House, including his boss, and curb the Trump surrogates whipping up Cuban missile crisis fears.”
Rice’s Controversial Email to Herself, Written a Few Minutes After the Obama Administration Had Come to an End
On the afternoon of January 21, 2018 – fifteen minutes after newly elected President Donald Trump had been sworn into office, and thus, fifteen minutes after Rice’s tenure as national-security adviser had ended – Rice wrote an email to herself which stated:
“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.
“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.
….[one longer or two shorter paragraphs redacted]….
“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.”
Regarding Rice’s email, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote in National Review: “[I]t’s not really an email-to-self. It is quite consciously an email for the record…. [F]or at least a few more minutes, Rice still had access to her government email account. She could still generate an official record. That’s what she wanted her brief email to be: the dispositive memorialization of a meeting she was worried about — a meeting that had happened over two weeks earlier [January 5], at which, of course, President Obama insisted that everything be done ‘by the book.’ […] An email written on January 21 to record decisions made on January 5 is not written to memorialize what was decided. It is written to revise the memory of what was decided in order to rationalize what was then done.” To read McCarthy’s analysis of Rice’s likely motives for writing the email in question, see Note #2 below.2
Exploiting the Coronavirus Crisis As a Justification to Push for Vote-by-Mail
In April 2020, as the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy and American life, Rice said in an interview with CNN:
“This is a moment not only of crisis, but inherent in that crisis is opportunity. And we need to take steps to broaden our social safety net to ensure that the most vulnerable have the healthcare, have the education, have the housing that they need.
“But in the immediate term, because many of those things are going to take time and being ambitious, I recommend two critical steps that Congress could take in the next legislation that it passes. One is to ensure that every American has the ability to vote safely in our November election…. [W]e have a real challenge to ensure that voters are able to access the ballot by mail, by longer periods of early voting, by safer polling stations, and that is the job of congress to ensure.
“And secondly, Congress can make a down payment on this effort to build a more equitable society by expanding national service. And in particular by creating something called a health force which can begin by employing unemployed Americans, students and the like to be contact tracers. At this moment, when a 100,000 to 300,000 of them are going to be needed for us to test, trace and open up safely.”
For additional information on Susan Rice, click here.
1 In a June 3, 2014 interview on Fox News, Col. Ralph Peters explained that Rice’s assertion about the purported American tradition of rescuing or “bringing home” all those who were “taken in battle” was false. Said Peters: “I’m sick of hearing people … instant experts, who never served in the military, saying, well, we always went after our … troops [to] bring them home, even if they were deserters…. [T]hroughout much of our history, we did go after deserters, and when we got them we shot them or hanged them. Or, if we were in a good mood, we would brand them with a ‘D’ on their cheeks or forehead. When we became enlightened in the 20th century we still shot some, but we always sent them to prison and hard labor.”
“January 5 was the day President Obama was presented with the ballyhooed report he had ordered to be rushed to completion by multiple intelligence agencies before his administration ended, ‘Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.’ The briefing that day was conducted by four intelligence-community leaders: James Comey, Michael Rogers, John Brennan, and James Clapper, directors respectively of the FBI, NSA, CIA and the Office of the National Intelligence Director.
“Just as significant: January 5 was the day before these same intelligence-community leaders would brief President-elect Trump on the same report.
“Also on hand at the January 5 White House briefing were Vice President Joe Biden and acting Attorney General Sally Yates. According to Rice, immediately after the briefing, President Obama had his two top law-enforcement officials, Yates and Comey, linger for ‘a brief follow-on conversation’ with the administration’s political leadership: Obama, Biden, and Rice.
“Let’s think about what was going on at that moment. It had been just a few days since Obama imposed sanctions on Russia. In that connection, the Kremlin’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, had contacted Trump’s designated national-security adviser, Michael Flynn. Obama-administration leadership despised Flynn, who (a) had been fired by Obama from his post as Defense Intelligence Agency chief; (b) had become a key Trump supporter and an intense critic of Obama foreign and national-security policy; and (c) was regarded by Yates and Comey as a possible criminal suspect — on the wayward theories that Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak could smack of a corrupt quid pro quo deal to drop the sanctions and might violate the never invoked, constitutionally dubious Logan Act.
“What else was happening? The Justice Department and FBI had gone to the FISA court on October 21, 2016, for a warrant to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. That warrant relied largely on the Steele dossier, which alleged a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin involving (a) a cyberespionage operation against the 2016 election, (b) corrupt negotiations regarding the sanctions, and (c) the Kremlin’s possession of ‘kompromat’ that would enable the Putin regime to blackmail President-elect Trump.
“Significantly, by the time of this January 6 meeting with Trump, the 90-day surveillance period under the FISA warrant would have had just a bit over two weeks left to run — it was set to expire just as Trump was to take office. (Reporting suggests that there may also have been a FISA warrant on Paul Manafort around this time.) The Obama administration was therefore confronting a deadline if the FISA warrant was to be renewed while Obama was still in power. The officials in the meeting would need to figure out how the investigation could continue despite the fact that its central focus, Trump, was about to be sworn in as president….
“Obviously, if Obama was having a ‘follow-on conversation’ with Yates and Comey, what it was following on was the briefing he’d just received about an investigation implicating the Trump campaign in Russian espionage…. There would be no reason to have such a follow-on conversation unless Obama wanted an update on what his law-enforcement officials were doing.
“Consequently, Rice’s ‘by the book’ bunkum is transparent: Obama officials claimed to adhere to a book that forbade consultations between political leaders and investigators. But here they were consulting. So Rice tried to cover the tracks in her email: She revises history such that the consultation morphs into a mere friendly reminder that Obama wanted everything done by the book. He was certainly ‘not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective,’ no siree….
“Far more important are the last paragraphs of Rice’s email. She recounted that ‘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.’ There follows a blacked-out paragraph…. Rice then closes with Obama’s instruction to Comey to inform Obama ‘if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team.’
“That is what Rice’s email is really about: not sharing with the incoming Trump administration classified information about the Trump-Russia investigation, such as the basis for seeking a FISA warrant on Carter Page…. The strategy forged by top Obama political and law-enforcement officials was to pursue an investigation of President Trump without sharing the full details of the investigation. They made a plan: Give Trump just a sliver of what the probe is about, tell him he is not under investigation, and keep investigating him under the guise of investigating Page, Manafort, and the Steele dossier.”