May 20, 2020 NY Post Editorial:
Susan Rice’s memo about a high-level Jan. 5, 2017, meeting plainly aimed to protect the then-national security adviser’s boss, President Barack Obama — but it’s backfiring spectacularly.
Rice sent the Jan. 20, 12:15 p.m., note (recently declassified) to herself at literally the last minute: President Trump was sworn in at noon that day; her administration was headed out the door.
Oh, and Rice’s lawyer says she drafted it “upon the advice of the White House Counsel’s Office,” Fox News reports.
The point? Ostensibly, to memorialize the meeting with her, Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, FBI boss James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, following a briefing on Russian hacking.
Obama, the memo claims, stressed that “every aspect of this issue” be handled “by the book” and then “reiterated” that law enforcement proceed “by the book.” Comey “affirmed” he’s “proceeding ‘by the book.’ ” That’s right: She used the term three times.
Could a note scream “cover your butt” any louder? Why would lawyers want a document created, two weeks after the fact and at the very last minute, that purported to show the Russia probe was totally kosher?
Surely because they feared people would think otherwise, because the probe wasn’t.
We now know, in fact, that nothing about that investigation was handled ethically.
Comey, she wrote, had “concerns” about her replacement, Michael Flynn, and said the National Security Council should “potentially” withhold “sensitive information” on Russia from Team Trump.
But Rice admits it was Obama who asked whether information should not be shared.
Yet they had no legitimate grounds to keep the new team in the dark about anything. The Obama folks knew full well by then that the FBI had found zero evidence of collusion or of Flynn betraying his country. Because they were listening in on his phone calls to foreign officials.
No outgoing president should push aides to withhold information from his duly elected successor: Their duty is to share every last bit of it and cooperate with his staff to the fullest. This was a full-on bid to sabotage Team Trump — and it worked all too well.
But at least it was by the book.