President Trump rejected the idea that Obama national security adviser Susan Rice wasn't being political when she requested the "unmasking" of people connected to Trump's campaign who were caught up in surveillance.
A recent report from CNN indicated that both Democratic and Republican congressional sources believe Rice was acting appropriately in her requests. However, Trump — speaking in an interview recorded before the report was published — said there's no way Rice wasn't acting politically.
.@POTUS on Susan Rice: "And you look at the extent of the surveillance. Me and so many other people... what they did is horrible." pic.twitter.com/MbuUch9Djk— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) April 12, 2017
"Does anybody really believe that? Nobody believes that," he said. "Even the people who try to protect her in the news media. It's such a big story and I'm sure it will continue forward. What they did was terrible."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said last month that Trump and his associates may have been swept up in legal surveillance, and he accused Obama administration officials of leaking their identities and information about their calls to the press.
Among the people accused is Rice, who has denied ever leaking any information about any Trump associate. She said last week she did ask for the identity of possible Trump associates caught up in surveillance, but did so for national security reasons.
Trump has used the reports to justify his tweets from early March accusing former President Barack Obama of directly ordering him to be spied on before the campaign. Nunes has said his information doesn't back that up and Trump has yet to provide any evidence for his claim.
However, Trump told Fox Business that he was referring in his tweet to the reports about Rice unmasking people close to him.
"We're talking about surveillance, we're talking about 'wiretapped' in quotes. The New York Times had 'wiretapped' in the headline of the first edition and then they took it out of there fast when they realized I had 'wiretapped' in quotes.
"We talked about surveillance or whatever and you look at the extent of the surveillance, me and so many other people, it's terrible."