Despite bombshell reports yesterday claiming that Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice “unmasked” members of the Trump campaign and Trump transition team while reviewing raw intelligence, that such unmasked information was widely distributed among top members of the Obama administration, and that Rice asked for continuous updates on communications between foreign targets and the Trump team after Trump won the Republican nomination, the media have decided that the story simply isn’t worth covering.
CNN’s Don Lemon stated that the media should not “aid and abet the people” creating a “diversion” over Susan Rice. As Newsbusters reports, CBS’ Margaret Brennan cited sources stating that Rice’s activity was perfectly normal and not improper. The New York Times echoed that claim. ABC News and NBC News didn’t cover the story at all.
But the story is huge.
Here are three reasons why.
1. The Obama Administration Targeted The Trump Team. The story is huge because it’s just more evidence that the Obama administration used government to target its political opposition. There’s no evidence Rice did anything illegal here. But it’s certainly an abuse of power to use the power of unmasking to keep tabs on your political opposition without any evidence of wrongdoing, as Rice reportedly did. If they’d found anything nefarious but non-criminal, what would they have done about it? Would that information have died a quiet death amidst the other intelligence reports spreading around the top levels of the Obama administration? Or would it have made its way to the press, as information about Mike Flynn’s innocuous contacts with the Russian Ambassador did after the election? As The Wall Street Journal editorial board states, “Ms. Rice would have had no obvious need to unmask Trump campaign officials other than political curiosity.”
2. Rice Lied. Last month, Rice told PBS Newshour that she knew “nothing” about surveillance of the Trump team. But she knew that the Trump team was caught up in incidental surveillance, obviously. We know that Rice has a habit of lying to protect her former boss, President Obama. Was this just another instance of such lying?
3. This Makes The Left’s Trump-Russia Theories More Strained. We’ve been hearing for months that Team Trump had nefarious ties with the Russian government, that collusion took place between the Trump campaign and Russian sources in order to coordinate the release of damaging information from the DNC hacks. But if Rice was monitoring all intelligence that came up regarding the Trump campaign, then where’s the evidence that any of this supposedly nefarious activity was occurring?
The Rice story is a major story. It doesn’t mean that Americans don’t have a right to be suspicious of supposed connections between Trump and Russia; it also doesn’t mean that Trump had his wires “tapped” or was the target of “spying,” as Tucker Carlson put it last night on Fox News. But Trump and his team were a political target of the Obama administration, and they apparently did everything they could within the law, including abuse of power, to dig up information on the Republican running against their former Secretary of State.