The controversial Susan Rice email that was sent on the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration has been released by the Trump administration.
A image of the email is below.
Politico reports on the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, outgoing national security adviser Susan Rice sent herself an email that has since drawn intense scrutiny from Republicans.
Now the full text of the email has been declassified, and POLITICO reviewed it. It says that then-FBI Director James Comey worried about sharing classified information with the Trump team because of incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn’s frequent conversations with the Russian ambassador but that Comey had no knowledge of Flynn sharing classified information with the envoy.
Republicans have seized on the document as potential evidence that the outgoing president had ordered the FBI to spy on the new administration, as Trump has alleged. And they have raised questions about the “unusual” nature of Rice memorializing the conversation in an email to herself, suggesting that in warning Comey to proceed “by the book,” Obama was implying that top law enforcement officials had done the opposite. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Rice said it shows the Obama administration handled the Flynn situation appropriately.
The email, most of which was already declassified, describes a Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting that followed up on an intelligence briefing about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Attendees included then-President Barack Obama; Comey; Sally Yates, who was the acting attorney general; Vice President Joe Biden; and Rice, who was Flynn’s predecessor in the job.
The email, which memorialized the meeting two weeks after it happened, said Obama wanted to be sure “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,” the email continued. “He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.”
The newly declassified portion describes Comey’s response.
“Director Comey affirmed that he is proceeding ‘by the book’ as it relates to law enforcement,” Rice wrote. “From a national security perspective, Comey said he does have some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Comey said that could be an issue as it relates to sharing sensitive information. President Obama asked if Comey was saying that the NSC should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn. Comey replied ‘potentially.’ He added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that ‘the level of communication is unusual.’ 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 that he would.”
Per AZCentral a spokeswoman for Rice said in a statement Tuesday that the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations “welcomes the release of the entirety of her Jan. 20, 2017 email, which confirms what she and others have indicated all along: that the Obama Administration had legitimate counter-intelligence concerns about National Security Advisor-designate Flynn’s communications with Russia.”
The email made clear “that no discussion of law enforcement matters of investigations took place, despite dishonest accusations to the contrary,” the statement said. It also said the email shows that the concerns about Flynn’s Russian contacts did not change the way Rice briefed her incoming successor.
“In fact, Ambassador Rice briefed Michael Flynn for over 12 hours, on four separate occasions and led the National Security Council in preparing and delivering to him over 100 separate briefing memos. Ambassador Rice did not alter the way she briefed Michael Flynn on Russia as a result of Director Comey’s response,” the statement said.
Rice called on Grenell to release the unredacted transcripts of Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak so the American people “can judge for themselves Michael Flynn’s conduct.”