Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley has released parts of an email Susan Rice sent to herself in 2016 that casts new shadows on the motives and dealings of the Obama administration in obtaining warrants to spy on an associate of the Trump campaign. Rice documents a meeting with President Obama in the partially redacted email, during which she says he stressed “his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect” of the investigation into Russia hacking in the election is handled “by the book.”
The mere fact that that Rice would write an email to herself makes the communication unusual, but there is so much more that raises questions. First, the letter was sent to and from an official government email address at 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 20, the day Trump was inaugurated. Even more striking than the date is the time — the email was sent about 25 minutes after Trump had been sworn into office. Both Obama and his White House team, including Rice, were officially out when the email was sent.
Why would Susan Rice be sending an email containing classified information and detailing certain aspects of a meeting with the now former president using an official government account less than 30 minutes after the new president had been sworn in, when she was no longer national security adviser? And does the act of handling classified information less than an hour after the expiration of her term in office make Rice criminally liable?
Equally as intriguing, Rice copied one of her staffers on the email to herself, a young man named Curtis Ried, who according to his very scant Twitter feed worked for her for seven years. Why cc Curtis Ried? Did he have a need to know about this meeting? Was the email solicited by Ried? Did someone else ask Rice to send it, and if so, who?
This brings us to the substance of the January 5th meeting documented in the email. Why would the president, in the last fortnight of his tenure need to remind the FBI director, the deputy attorney general, the vice president, and the national security adviser to carry out the Russia investigation “by the book”?
Adding to the incongruity are Rice’s previously existing credibility problems. Recall, this is the same Susan Rice that The Washington Times’ David Keene called the Obama Administration’s “go-to liar,” largely because of her multiple attempts to sell a fake story to the American people linking the attack on our embassy in Benghazi to a ridiculous and inconsequential movie. She is also the same Susan Rice who called Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl a hero. One must consider that Rice’s email represents another messaging mission given to her by Obama.
We don’t have enough information to answer the myriad of questions posed by Rice’s actions. But here’s what we do know.
The email is the second piece of evidence that Obama was somehow directly involved in the Russia investigation, although he said otherwise, in addition to the uncovered texts sent by Lisa Paige to her FBI lover and coworker, Peter Strzok. That’s more than enough to ask questions about his role in an investigation House and Senate Republicans are saying involved potential abuse of the federal government’s power to spy on an American citizen.
Unquestionably, the planks on the bridge leading to Hillary Clinton and her involvement in the FISA affair and with Russian activity designed to influence the outcome of an American presidential election are multiplying and becoming sturdier with every week that passes, while the ones leading to Donald Trump are rapidly crumbling.
But there also appears to be a new extension emanating from the Hillary Bridge, one leading to Obama himself, and one that was just made stronger by the hapless and perhaps unwitting actions of Susan Rice.