Senate Republicans want Susan Rice to testify about the unmasking of US citizens in the Russia investigation. Rice just gave them the virtual finger.
On Wednesday, Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice declined an invitation to testify before a judiciary subcommittee hearing next week.
Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on crime and terrorism, told CNN that he invited Rice to testify before his committee because he wanted to question her about names she unmasked related to the Russia investigation.
“I’d like to ask questions of her. I have seen press reports – I don’t know how accurate – that she was involved in the unmasking of a U.S. citizen who was incidentally surveilled.”
But Rice believes that her testimony would just be a political stunt by the Republicans to distract from the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.
Initially, Rice was willing to testify because she thought the invitation was a bipartisan effort. But when she found out that Senator Whitehouse, the ranking Democrat on the panel, did not sign on to Graham’s request, she realized it was just a Republican “diversionary play.”
Rice’s lawyer Kathryn Ruemmler sent a letter back to the committee saying,
“Senator [Sheldon] Whitehouse [D-R.I.] has informed us by letter that he did not agree to Chairman Graham’s invitation to Ambassador Rice, a significant departure from the bipartisan investigations extended to other witnesses.”
“Under these circumstances, Ambassador Rice respectfully declines Senator Graham’s invitation to testify.”
“I don’t believe that Dr. Rice’s participation is germane to the topic of this hearing, and I believe her presence would be a distraction from the critical issues at hand. I fully support her decision not to testify.”
Even though Rice declined Graham’s invitation to testify, her lawyer added,
“[Susan Rice is] prepared to assist Congressional inquiries into Russian election interference because of the important national interests at stake, provided they are conducted in a bipartisan manner, and, as appropriate, in classified session.”