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Senate intel committee investigating Russia meddling interviews Susan Rice behind closed doors

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The Senate intelligence committee investigating alleged Russian meddling quietly interviewed Susan Rice on Friday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Senate committee investigating alleged Russian interference in last year's election quietly interviewed former national security adviser Susan Rice behind closed doors Friday, according to CNN.

"Ambassador Rice met voluntarily with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today as part of the committee's bipartisan investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election," Erin Pelton, a spokesperson for Rice, told CNN.

"Ambassador Rice appreciates the Committee's efforts to examine Russia's efforts to interfere, which violated one of the core foundations of American democracy," she added.

According to CNN, Rice is the third high-level official from the Obama administration to meet with the the Senate select committee on intelligence this week. The committee also met with James Clapper, who served as director of national intelligence under former President Barack Obama, and Denis McDonough, who served as Obama's chief of staff.

Rice served as Obama's national security adviser during his second term in the White House and as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during Obama's first.

The meeting is significant because many Republicans believe that Rice is responsible for the illegal "unmasking" of Trump associates in U.S. intelligence reports.

"Unmasking" is the process where the identities of Americans collected in U.S. intelligence reports are revealed. Typically, they are only revealed if the identity is needed to understand the scope of the intelligence. According to NSA director Adm. Mike Rogers, who testified before Congress alongside former FBI director James Comey in March, the unmasking of American identities is rare, although their collection is more frequent.

However, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the committee, told CNN after the meeting that no questions were raised regarding allegations that Rice improperly unmasked identities.

"The unmasking thing was all created by Devin Nunes, and I'll wait to go through our full evaluation to see if there was anything improper that happened," Burr said. "But clearly there were individuals unmasked. Some of that became public which it's not supposed to, and our business is to understand that, and explain it."

Early in congressional investigation regarding Russia, Rep. David Nunes (R-Calif.) was a central figure in the public spotlight, but later stepped aside from the investigation after he was accused of revealing classified information.

Nunes never recused himself from the investigation, however, and remains fully "read-in."

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