President Trump wasted no time on Thursday in getting to his Twitter account to bash a former Obama administration official for her refusal to testify before the Senate.
“Susan Rice, the former National Security Advisor to President Obama, is refusing to testify before a Senate Subcommittee next week on allegations of unmasking Trump transition officials. Not good!” Trump wrote.
Rice was not served a legal subpoena to appear, but her testimony was requested by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Rice’s lawyer informed the Senate that she was declining the invitation because the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism had not agreed with the request. Rice’s lawyer said that without Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s approval, the request marked “a significant departure from the bipartisan invitations extended to other witnesses.”
Rice has been under fire from Republicans since it was revealed last month that she was responsible for unmasking the names of several Trump associates who had been…ahem…inadvertently caught on surveillance of foreign officials. Rice has not specifically denied the allegations, but she has maintained that she never requested any unmasking for “political purposes.”
In comments to Fox News, Sen. Trey Gowdy suggested that the Judiciary subcommittee might be forced to resort to more coercive means to get Rice to testify.
“There are other ways to invite people other than via letter,” Gowdy said Thursday. “There are things called subpoenas. You shouldn’t have to use it with a former national security adviser but if you do, you do.”
In a letter to the committee, Rice’s lawyer said that the former national security advisor was available for testimony…just not under these circumstances.
“Ambassador Rice is prepared to assist Congressional inquiries into Russian election interference because of the important national interests at stake, provided they are conducted in a bipartisan manner, and as appropriate, in classified session,” the letter said.
In other words, Rice is willing to come in and yap in front of the Senate if it means throwing another handful or two of mud at the sitting president, but she doesn’t want to be questioned about her role in the Obama administration’s misuse of the intelligence community’s resources. How very convenient.