Those who believe in government transparency have (or had) it in the case of Susan Rice. She is a transparent liar. She is also a knave and a fool. On September 16, 2012, for example, she hit the Sunday morning gabfests to assert that the attack on our Benghazi facilities represented cinematic criticism gone wild. She peddled the same highly rehearsed line virtually verbatim on each of the five shows. Here is how she put it on Fox News Sunday: “The best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo, as a consequence of the video.”
In the eyes of Barack Obama, such service qualified her for a promotion. Rice was serving at the time as United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He wanted her to serve as his Secretary of State. In the event, he installed her as his National Security Adviser. As such she sent an email to herself on Obama’s last day in office. Released in redacted form yesterday, the email is one of the most intriguing if enigmatic bits of evidence to have emerged in the alleged Russian collusion scandal.
As part of their oversight efforts, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley and subcommittee chairman Graham obtained the email from the National Archives in response to their request for records of meetings between President Obama and Comey in the collusion investigation. Rice sent the email to herself with a copy to Curtis Ried (Twitter feed here) on January 20, 2017.
January 20 was of course the day of President Trump’s inauguration. If the timestamp is correct, Rice sent the email to herself at 12:15 p.m., within minutes of Trump’s inauguration and just before she must have departed the White House for the last time.
The email purports to document a January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting including President Obama, Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Vice President Biden and Rice herself regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. What a crew.
President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that 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. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.
Grassley and Graham were struck by the context and timing of this email and have sent a follow up letter to Rice. The letter reads in part:
It strikes us as odd that, among your activities in the final moments on the final day of the Obama administration, you would feel the need to send yourself such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation. In addition, despite your claim that President Obama repeatedly told Mr. Comey to proceed “by the book,” substantial questions have arisen about whether officials at the FBI, as well as at the Justice Department and the State Department, actually did proceed “by the book.”
According to the email, the meeting further took up the question whether Trump could be trusted with “information fully as it relates to Russia.” Senator Grassley has posted a press release and copy of his correspondence quoting the email here. The letter poses 12 numbered questions to Rice. I have posted the letter and the appended email as redacted below via Scribd. Allahpundit offers related thoughts construing the email here.
Take a look at the email with your own eyes. It is, as I say, an intriguing piece of evidence. I would draw every reasonable inference against Obama and Rice, but there is a level of uncertainty that necessarily attaches here. To me the email cries of “nobody here but us chickens.”
Grassley Letter to Rice and Attachment by Scott Johnson on Scribd