Former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice told Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in a letter from her lawyer Wednesday that she would not be testifying before Congress in their investigation into alleged Russian hacking.
Rice said she would not testify because the request was made from Graham without bipartisan support, a fact she discovered when told by a Democratic member of the committee reaching out to her about the request.
“Senator [Sheldon] Whitehouse [D-R.I.] has informed us by letter that he did not agree to Chairman Graham’s invitation to Ambassador Rice,” the letter read, “a significant departure from the bipartisan invitations extended to other witnesses. Under these circumstances, Ambassador Rice respectfully declines Senator Graham’s invitation to testify.”
CNN spoke with Whitehouse to ask why he discouraged Rice from testifying.
“With the exception of that invitation, Senator Graham and I have agreed on all witnesses that have been invited to this hearing,” he said. “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.”
Rice was set to testify before the the Senate Committee in a hearing entitled, “Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election,” on May 8, 2017.
President Trump told the New York Times that he thought Susan Rice part in the “unmasking” of Trump associates before the election was a serious offense. When asked if he thought she committed a crime, he said simply, “Do I think? Yes, I think.”
“I think it’s going to be the biggest story,” he added. “It’s such an important story for our country and the world. It is one of the big stories of our time.”