After it emerged courtesy of Mike Cernovich that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice had made numerous requests to “unmask” the identities of Americans associated with President Trump in intelligence reports, senator Rand Paul who in recent days has been on increasingly better terms with the president and even went golfing with him this weekend, said Rice should testify under oath about her involvment in a potentially illegal scandal that she herself denied she had any knowledge of as recently as 2 weeks ago.
The Kentucky senator called the unmasking an “enormous deal” and indicated that it should be illegal.
“If it is allowed, we shouldn’t be allowing it, but I don’t think should just discount how big a deal it is that Susan Rice was looking at these and she needs to be asked, ‘Did President Obama ask her to do this? Was this a directive from President Obama? I think she should testify under oath on this.” Paul told reporters.
“I think she should be asked under oath, did she reveal it to The Washington Post. I think they were illegally basically using an espionage tool to eavesdrop or wiretap — if you want to use the word generally — on the Trump campaign,” Paul said.
The report about Rice is linked to Devin Nunes’s claim that the Trump transition team was "accidentally surveilled" and associated information was widely disseminated in intelligence community reports.
Nunes made the claim nearly two weeks ago, infuriating his Democratic colleagues by briefing the media and Trump on the information before revealing it to his committee. Nunes said he was particularly concerned with the possibility that Trump associates were “unmasked” in the intelligence reports. Nunes revealed the information weeks after Trump accused Obama of having his “wires tapped” at Trump Tower ahead of the presidential election.
Paul used Monday’s development to renew his push for reform of a controversial provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that allows the U.S. intelligence community to target non-Americans outside the United States without a warrant. The provision, Section 702, is up for renewal later this year. Paul also signaled that he sees Nunes — who has long been an advocate for the foreign intelligence law — as a potential ally for reform.
Nunes previously took issue with the fact that Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, had his communications monitored by the intelligence community, which were later the subject of media reports.
“I have been very impressed with Devin Nunes,” Paul said. “All of the intelligence hawks don’t like him because he appears to have found something and he’s willing to talk about it with the president.”
“I think it is inappropriate and it should be illegal,” Paul said of "incidental collection" on Americans without a warrant, i.e. spying by the NSA first revealed by Edward Snowden.
“I don’t think you should be allowed to listen to Americans’ conversations without a warrant. They are doing it without a warrant. They are targeting a foreigner, and because they are targeting a foreigner they are gathering all of this information on Americans.”
“Is there a possibility that Susan Rice was politically motivated? Let’s ask her why she was opening up all of the conversations with Trump transition figures.”
Last Friday, in a rare public compliment of a political figure, Matt Drudge said that "Rand Paul is America's best senator."