Political Editors / February 13, 2018

Susan Rice’s Last-Minute CYA Email

According to her Inauguration Day account of a prior meeting, FBI malfeasance wasn’t Obama’s fault.

At 12:15 p.m. on Inauguration Day 2017, Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice sent herself a fairly important and unusual email (see below). It came to light Monday, thanks to the work of Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham — the same pair that affirmed the House FISA memo findings.

In the email, Rice made notes about a meeting that occurred two weeks prior on Jan. 5, 2017, involving Obama, then-FBI Director James Comey, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Joe Biden and Rice. The subject of the conversation was Obama’s supposed desire that the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia go “by the book.” According to Grassley and Graham, the meeting also covered the phony Christopher Steele dossier — you know, the one funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. No wonder “one source familiar with the meeting” denied it covered the dossier.

That date is significant because this meeting took place the day before Comey and the FBI visited Trump Tower to brief the president-elect on the investigation and the dossier, which had already been used to justify surveillance of Trump’s campaign. As Rice indicates, the meeting participants debated what and how much to tell Trump — Obama wanted to hide some things.

Rice’s emphasis on Obama’s “by the book” instruction particularly stinks of covering his rear, whether he actually said it or Rice embellished the recollection. Literally on the way out the White House door for the last time, Rice made it a priority to leave a paper trail confirming Obama’s careful handling of the investigation. If anything had gone wrong — which we now know in great detail just how wrong it did go — that record would supposedly prove it wasn’t Obama’s fault.

Grassley and Graham wrote their own letter to Rice demanding answers to a few questions by Feb. 22. Those questions include some that are of the “what did you know and when did you know it?” variety. The answers — if Rice bothers to provide them — will be key in understanding more about the whole affair.

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