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Republicans Just Tried To Prove Obama Acted Improperly In Trump-Russia Probe, Here’s Why It Falls Flat

Republicans Chuck Grassley Lindsey Graham released an unclassified email by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Monday and suggested that the “unusual” email raises new questions about former President Barack Obama’s involvement in the Russia investigation.

Rice sent herself the email on Jan. 20, 2017, which outlines a Jan. 5 meeting between Obama, former FBI Director James Comey, former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and former Vice President Joe Biden.

“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 a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.”

Grassley and Graham both questioned Rice’s decision to document that meeting.

“It strikes us as 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,” Grassley and Graham said in a letter to Rice.

“In addition, despite your claim that President Obama repeatedly told Mr. Comey to proceed ‘by the book,’ substantial questions have arisen about whether officials at the FBI, as well as at the Justice Department and the State Department, actually did proceed ‘by the book,’” they charged.

Both Republican Senators are suggesting that Rice should not have found the time to document a meeting between Obama and his FBI Director about an investigation into Russian interference in 2016.

Here’s how their argument falls flat. Rice’s email actually describes how concerned the former president was about the Russia investigation.

The email also suggests that Obama thought Trump may be compromised by Russia.

“[Obama] 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,” Rice wrote.

“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,” she added. “Comey said he would.”

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