Senator Rand Paul says that former Obama official Susan Rice committed a “big crime” when she unmasked Trump team members and then lied about it on national television.
Appearing on Fox News with Sean Hannity, Paul slammed Rice’s mealy mouthed answer to whether or not she would testify before a congressional inquiry about why she unmasked the identities of Trump campaign officials collected during intelligence intercepts.
Rice first said she knew nothing about the unmasking of transition officials but later walked that back to claim she didn’t ask for the names to be revealed “for political purposes”.
“The question I would ask Susan Rice if she came before Congress – ‘did you discuss with the president that you were unmasking Trump transition officials – in what world would it ever have been appropriate for White House staff, political staff, to be unmasking conversations – highly classified and private conversations with Trump, General Flynn and others?'” said Paul.
“She needs to be made to answer for this, this is not a benign thing,” said Paul, adding that private conversations gathered as a result of intelligence intercepts were then leaked to the media.
“This is a big crime and we need to get to the bottom of it,” said the Kentucky Senator.
Hannity suggested that the “real intelligence gathering” was simply about “spying on Trump,” to which Paul responded that in no way would it be “Susan Rice’s job” to be handling intelligence information – that would fall to the FBI, the NSA or the CIA.
The Senator went on to slam the pretext of allowing the government to spy on everyone’s conversations “because they disagree with us politically,” while also pointing out the danger of the executive branch eavesdropping on the legislative branch.