Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer unraveled what he called an "outright lie and contradiction" from Susan Rice, Obama's former national security adviser who is at the center of the wiretapping controversy. He made the comments to Dana Perino Tuesday on Fox News.
"Last week, we had the news that Michael Flynn would be offering to testify in exchange for immunity, that got wall-to-wall media coverage," Perino said. "This is actually a very significant development, sort of, downplayed in some quarters. What did you make of it?"
"Well, you're right about the downplaying," Krauthammer responded. "The networks have essentially ignored it. I think in The New York Times, it appeared on page A-16, and the reason is they're not interested, the mainstream media, and the Democrats, that's sort of redundant, are not interested in this line of inquiry. They only want to talk about the collusion story, which is a legitimate story, or allegation, although there's been no evidence to date. They are not interested in this story about the improper use of intelligence, which is equally important and it's worth investigating."
"I think the problem for Rice is, number one, that she appears to be totally contradicting herself," Krauthammer explained. "When she said a couple of weeks ago, 'I know nothing about this.' It appears to be an outright lie and contradiction."
He is referring to Rice's interview on MSNBC Tuesday where she explained the circumstances of the unmasking of Trump campaign members from incidental intelligence collection.
"I suspect she'll wiggle around it by being ambiguous about the word 'this' was," Krauthammer continued. "Very Clintonian — it depends on what 'is' is. So on that, she can probably escape. But the other issue is, why was she asking? And what possible national security interest did she have in uncovering whatever names she uncovered, unmasked? And I think until we have answers to that, we're not gonna know the extent of this impropriety."
"If it was for national security reasons, possible," he continued, "I don't quite see how it could be, then this is perfectly legitimate. But she is not an investigator, she's a political operative. She works on behalf of the president. And if it can be shown that this was a political fishing expedition, then she's in a world of hurt."
"The way we've seen this story unfold is that every day," Perino continued, "if you're on one side or the other, on any given day, you can feel like your side is winning. But what is the national toll on the psyche of the American people that really want to see some things get done, or maybe if you're in the resist movement, you wanna see some things get blocked. But if this is the thing we're talking about, like Catherine [Herridge] just said, we're looking at another year to 18 months of this. What does that do to the American people's trust in the system?"
"I think that's one of the casualties," Krauthammer responded. "The other casualty is not just what's happening in Congress, what may or may not get passed. The world around us is in deep trouble. We've got craziness in North Korea. We've got Chinese sort of on the march in the South China Sea, the Russians are on the march all of the time, we have these atrocities in Syria, and yet we seem to be now accommodating ourselves to the regime that just committed the atrocity. And of course, we have Iran extending it's influence all throughout the Middle East."
"The world is on fire," he added emphatically. "And we are chasing rabbit holes here."
"I'm not sure whether we're going to find anything of importance on the collusion issue," he continued. "Yes of course, the Russians intervened. But on collusion, what's the evidence, and what exactly would it mean for there to have been collusion. And as to the impropriety of the releases, I suspect we'll find one or two instances. I suspect also, this is just a guess, since we don't know. But the idea of a vast conspiracy is pretty unlikely."
"You and I have been here for many, many years," he said to Perino, "and I always assume that it is incompetence and not conspiracy, because if you believe in conspiracy, you're giving these guys too much credit. They couldn't organize a two-car funeral."
"I used to say when they used to accuse President Bush of all sorts of things, I thought, 'they're give us way too much credit'!" Perino laughed, referring to her time as former President George W. Bush's White House press secretary.
"Exactly," Krauthammer agreed. "Anybody who's been on the inside knows that conspiracies are extremely rare and very difficult to pull off."
The revelation that Susan Rice took part in the "unmasking" of Trump campaign members from U.S. intelligence has inspired demands that the matter be fully investigated. At issue is whether she had reason to do so, or if it was politically motivated, and whether former President Obama had any part in ordering it.
CNN's Chris Cuomo, on the other hand, called the story "fake news" peddled by "right-wing media types." Democrats are also defending Rice's actions as nothing abnormal.