WASHINGTON, D.C. — Susan Rice, the embattled former Obama administration official at the center of the growing unmasking scandal, says she did nothing wrong during her time at the White House and denies that she revealed the names of Trump transition members that were obtained during surveillance of then president-elect Trump.
Speaking publicly on Tuesday for the first time since the scandal broke, Rice, who infamously took a political beating for falsely claiming that an internet video was the cause behind a bloody attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, said she “absolutely” did not order the unmasking of individuals for political purposes, and that she revealed the names of no one.
“The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes, that is absolutely false,” Rice told MSNBC before adding that sometimes such a request would be necessary for an investigation.
sometimes, in that context, in order to understand the importance of the report and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out, or request the information as to find out who that U.S. official was,” Rice continued.
Despite her claims of any wrongdoing, Republicans have come out on attack, publicly calling for the former diplomat to be compelled to testify on the matter before Congress.
“She needs to testify under oath,” Sen. John Cornyn, (R)-Texas, a member of both the Senate Judiciary and Select Committee on Intelligence, Tweeted on Tuesday.
Appearing on Fox News on Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R)-S.C., who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, said “when it comes to Susan Rice, you need to verify, not trust.”
Sen. Rand Paul, (R)-Ky, echoed Graham’s comments by saying that, at this point, Rice should be under subpoena.
During an appearance Tuesday on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), also a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said “Susan Rice is the Typhoid Mary of the Obama administration foreign policy. Every time something went wrong, she seemed to turn up in the middle of it.”
Cotton also said there was “no doubt” that Rice should be the subject of a committee hearing and vowed that the Intelligence Committee “ought to review…and will review” both Rice’s alleged actions to see if criminal charges against her should be placed on the table.