Van Jones, the former green energy czar for the Obama administration, said Wednesday on CNN that Republicans should be thanking former national security adviser Susan Rice instead of trying to bury her.
"Now with his usual zero facts, and no evidence," Jones began, "President [Donald] Trump today declared that Susan Rice is guilty of a crime. What crime? Didn't say. And with the same zero facts he says that Bill O'Reilly is innocent."
"The right-wing media wants to burn Susan Rice at the stake for doing her job," he explained, "That's it. Susan Rice was our national security adviser. To give good advice, you gotta ask good questions! Especially when fishy looking stuff lands on your desk, OK? Now finding out for yourself the names of sketchy people, doing possibly sketchy things is called unmasking. OK? Now that doesn't mean revealing it to the whole world, that would be illegal.
"It does mean revealing those names to yourself," he added, "at your desk, so you can do a better job advising the president. As best we can tell, that's all she did. Her job.
"Now if she were a terrible person, up to no good," Jones continued, "trying to ruin Donald Trump, you know what she would've done, what she could've done? She could of called a press conference in the middle of the election, like James Comey did from the FBI, OK? She could of run around screaming bloody murder, 'look what I found, look what I found.' She didn't do that. She got very disturbing information, and she looked into it. And as best we can tell, she did her job inside the proper channels.
"For doing this, Donald Trump should give Susan Rice the Presidential Medal of Freedom, OK?" Jones exclaimed.
"Somebody like Comey would have run to the cameras," he added, "created a huge firestorm, and possibly wrecked his campaign. So Republicans should love Susan Rice! They should thank Susan Rice!"
"'Thank you for being a professional!' Instead they're throwing fits," Jones concluded. "Why? Maybe they don't want you to think about what Susan Rice unmasked. People on Trump's team possibly playing footsy with bad guys from Russia. Let's not get distracted."
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) April 6, 2017
Susan Rice has denied committing the acts of "unmasking" for the sake of political retribution, but many say that her excuses and explanations just don't make sense. Conservative commentator Charles Krauhammer excoriated her for what he saw as an "outright lie and contradiction" in her statements.
Trump said Wednesday that Rice may have committed a crime.
Some in the mainstream media, like CNN's Chris Cuomo, have downplayed the scandal, and called it "fake news."