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Rice remained a target, however, for conservatives and critics of Obama's handling of the Syrian civil war - and she also made enemies within the government over what critics called her irresolution and micromanagement. Devin Nunes that in essence, during the final days of the Obama administration, during the transition after President Trump had been elected, he and the people around him may have been caught up in surveillance of foreign individuals and that their identities may have been disclosed. The media was right to demand proof and to castigate the administration for a less than forthcoming response to the controversy.

In an interview on Wednesday, Trump said he thought Rice broke the law if she revealed the names of Trump associates who were under surveillance by USA intelligence agencies. By any objective measure, that should be a major story.

"Now that someone in the Obama administration was eavesdropping and specifically searching a databank looking for the Trump (people)", Sen. I expect the congressional investigations will conclude this claim is false and actually represented a deliberate effort to manipulate intelligence analysis to undermine the Trump presidency.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a leading member of the House committee that is probing Trump's and his associates' ties to Russian Federation, suggested on Wednesday that Rice could be subpoenaed to testify in front of the committee. Mitchell's 16-minute interview involved no tough questions. "Yes, I think." The president did not specify what law he thinks Rice may have broken.

"I don't know what it is about Susan Rice that has always drawn the conspiracy theories of that Breitbart crowd", he said. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today ...

"I know nothing about this".

The unmasked names, of people associated with Donald Trump, were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan - essentially, the officials at the top, including former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes.

Trump, asked by the Times, if he believed Rice committed a crime, responded, "Do I think?". Rice is no stranger to political scandals: in 2013, she was grilled for her handling of the bombing at the USA diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

She was not alone.

Jones, a former Obama administration official himself, said Rice was just doing her job.

Instead, the media actively sought to focus on aspects of Rice's statement that could still be supported. Rice, in an interview with MSNBC, simply said "there were occasions" when she requested the name "in order to understand the importance of that report and assess its significance". If so, she would be in one of the smallest groups of Washington (that could be a hard question under oath in a future hearing).

The New York Times reports that the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation began examining suspected ties between Russian hacking efforts and the Trump campaign significantly earlier in the campaign than was previously known-and that the Central Intelligence Agency, in particular, considered the situation "urgent". Alternatively, the media hit on the fact that such surveillance is legal. Its unlawful use is espionage because the identity of Americans surveilled is top-secret - the highest level of classification. "The allegation is that somehow the Obama Administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes", she said.

Government data seems to back up Schaffer, not Rice. After all, Clapper lied about his knowledge of one of the most massive secret surveillance programs in history and later explained that he simply chose "the least untruthful" answer to give the Senate.