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Trump suggests, without citing evidence, Susan Rice might have committed crime

Unmasking is the word of the week inside Washington, D.C.

It was reported this week that Rice, in her role as national security adviser, asked intelligence agencies to "unmask" the names of Trump associates mentioned in reports of surveillance activities. "That's absolutely false", she told MSNBC television.

A couple of weeks ago, when asked about the "incidental" intelligence sweep on PBS NewsHour, she said, "I know nothing about this".

"I think it's going to be the biggest story", he said.

"It's such an important story for our country and the world", Trump added.

Since Monday, when Eli Lake broke the story at Bloomberg News, the nation has been riveted by the report that Rice asked that the identities of various USA citizens, "incidentally" swept up by one or more of America's alphabet soup of intelligence services, be "unmasked".

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Rice has denied any wrongdoing.

Eddington says the House and Senate intelligence committees will want to know more about the timing of Rice's requests, and if she indeed sought the names of Trump campaign or transition officials in the waning days of the Obama administration.

Later on Wednesday, Erin Pelton, a spokesman for Rice, said in an email to Reuters: "I'm not going to dignify the President's ludicrous charge with a comment".

The Trump administration and their surrogates are attempting to use the discredited Rice allegations as proof of Trump's debunked claim that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Rice explained that the names are instead made visible within the intelligence report to those who have been authorized to read such documents. When this happens, intelligence analysts routinely delete the names and replace them with vague identifiers like "U.S. Person Number One".

Rice said she did not leak any classified information.

"We have a smoking gun that points to criminal activity by President Obama's national security advisor and the media have shown an utter lack of interest in pursuing the story". Mitchell asked Rice if the leaking or unmasking was done for political reasons. Neither allegation has been backed up by evidence.

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A source close to the matter told ABC News that Trump had no knowledge of the unmasking when he wrote those tweets.

In an interview Tuesday, she didn't exactly deny the unmasking but made clear that intelligence was never used for political purposes during her tenure and that she never leaked information to the press.

Lake's article in Bloomberg News conceded, "Rice's unmasking requests were likely within the law". Which makes the fact that the Kentucky senator has emerged as the chief defender of the President's unproven claims of being wire-tapped by the Obama Administration all the more awesome.

Rice alluded to that Russian Federation probe in her interview, saying it was of "grave concern".

The CNN anchor said there was "no evidence whatsoever that the Trump team (were) surveilled or spied on illegally" and that he did not plan to insult his viewers "intelligence by pretending otherwise". That is what's been going on with the drama on the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

President Donald Trump meets King Abdullah II of Jordan in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday. In that capacity, she oversaw the National Security Council Staff, chairs the Cabinet-level National Security Principals Committee, provided the president's daily national security briefing, and was responsible for the coordination and integration of the administration's foreign policy, intelligence and military efforts.

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