Slow pace of Rice records angers intelligence panel
Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.
On May 31, Republicans and Democrats on the House intelligence committee issued a series of subpoenas related to the Russia investigations. Three of the subpoenas — sent to intelligence community agencies — sought records relating to alleged unmasking requests made by senior Obama administration figures, including Ms. Rice, CIA Director John O. Brennan and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.
Democrats want the probes to stay tightly focused on possible obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump and collusion between his associates and the Kremlin. The U.S. intelligence community has unanimously concluded that the Kremlin was behind an organized cyberattack campaign to interfere in the U.S. election and undermine the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton last year.
But since the Russia probes launched earlier this year, Mr. Trump and his aides have argued that the real scandal lies elsewhere. They contend that senior Obama administration officials, including Ms. Rice, inappropriately unmasked and perhaps illegally leaked to the media the names of Trump campaign officials swept up in the hacking probe, and failed to take sufficient steps to stop the hacking once it was uncovered.
Judicial Watch sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the NSC in April seeking records concerning Ms. Rice’s communications on a range of subjects.
NSC Access Management Director John Powers responded on May 23 — roughly a week before the House intelligence committee began seeking the records.
“Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library,” Mr. Powers wrote. “You may send your request to the Obama Library. However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.”