As the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election continues, two top Republican Senators want former President Barack Obama‘s National Security Advisor Susan Rice to answer for an “unusual” email that she sent to herself on President Donald Trump‘s Inauguration Day.
Sens. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham, the chairman of a Judiciary subcommittee, pointed to the email, dated Jan. 20, which reportedly described a Jan. 5 meeting in Obama’s Oval Office.
The meeting, which also included then Vice President Joe Biden as well as former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, reportedly covered the topic of what information about the Russia investigation could be shared with Trump’s transition team.
“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,'” Rice wrote. “The president stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from the law enforcement perspective.”
Rice said that Obama then asked about how to proceed, given national security concerns about the investigation.
“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia,” she wrote, according to the Daily Mail.
“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,” Rice wrote. “Comey said he would.”
Republicans of Judiciary committee petition Rice
Now, the Republicans want Rice to explain her email. Specifically, they want to know what else was discussed in the meeting and whether Comey brought up the infamous Russia dossier.
“It strikes us 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,” the two Senators wrote to Rice.
They gave Rice until Feb. 22 to get back to them on several questions about the email.
It’s likely that the Republicans hope that they will be able to paint the investigation as having not been conducted “by the book” by probing deeper into this matter.
The GOP has continued to attempt to discredit the investigation, with some even going so far as to accuse the Justice Department of being part of a “deep state,” a term that Trump himself has taken up.