An email at the center of the “ObamaGate” scandal was released to the public on Tuesday after being declassified by Richard Grenell, the acting Director of National Intelligence.
The email was sent by former Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice to herself for documentation purposes on the day of President Donald Trump’s inaugural.
It details her notes from a meeting about suspicions of Russian meddling in the 2016 election on January 5, 2017. In attendance were former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, Rice, and former FBI Director James Comey.
Catherine Herridge of CBS News posted the email after obtaining it:
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 19, 2020
In the previous redacted portion of the email, Rice says Obama told them he wanted the investigation to continue going “by the book”:
President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handed by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book”.
The section of the newly redacted portions of the email have to do with Comey’s concerns about Mike Flynn, the incoming national security advisor at the time, and his interactions with a Russian ambassador.
Director Comey affirmed that he is proceeding “by the book” as it relates to law enforcement. From a national security perspective, Comey said he does have some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is spreaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Comey said that could be an issue as it relates to sharing sensitive information.
President Obama asked if Comey was saying that the NSC should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn. Comey replied, ‘potentially.’ He added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that the ‘level of communication is unusual.’
Critics of the Obama administration hoped the declassified email would contain more evidence proving that the investigation into Russian election meddling was politically motivated.
Rice has admitted that she requested the unmasking of Trump officials in surveillance, but denied that it was done out of political motivation.
“The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes,” Rice said in April 2017. That’s absolutely false.”
Here’s a video compiling statements from Susan Rice: