Trump tells newspaper Obama aide might have broken the law

"I think it's going to be the biggest story", Trump said. "It is such an important story for our country and the world".

Contrary to the Times' opinion, in a news story no less, that Trump was seeking to change the subject, it is clear that there is a real story here. "The president provided no evidence to back his claim".

In an interview on Tuesday, Rice denied the allegations.

In addition, the ex-Obama official also brushed off claims she went public with the names of Trump associates mentioned in the intelligence reports, saying, "I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would".

Rice, in an interview with MSNBC, acknowledged that she sometimes asked for the names of Americans referenced in reports.

According to a us official, President Donald Trump's national security aides discovered after the inauguration that Rice had asked for the identities of Trump associates who were referenced in intelligence reports.

"And the identity of those citizens was revealed, people ought to have the right to know why". If a senior official gives what appears to be a national security reason, demasking requests are nearly always approved.

Rice said she had no immediate comment on the president's remarks when contacted by Reuters. "I know nothing about this", she told "PBS NewsHour" last month when asked about Nunes' claim.

Rice, in an interview on MSNBC, would not say whether she had viewed intelligence involving Trump and his aides. She called the unmasking process routine and said she only did it when it pertained to matters of national security.

Understand: There would have been no intelligence need for Susan Rice to ask for identities to be unmasked. The Times said Trump declined "repeated requests for evidence of his allegations or the names of other Obama administration officials". But rather than attempt to fight them and carry on with the Russian Federation investigation, Nunes said he would recuse himself from that process while staying on as chairman of the full committee. For her to request the "unmasking" of Americans can only mean one thing.

Intelligence officials said any requests that Rice may have made would have been handled by the intelligence agency responsible for the report, which in most cases would have been the National Security Agency.

A former national security official told CBS News that when such information on USA individuals is approved and provided by the intelligence community, it is typically given directly to the senior official who made the request and is not broadly disseminated.

"I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would", she said.

The names were part of incidental electronic surveillance of candidate and President-elect Trump and people close to him, including family members, for up to a year before he took office.

Disclosing any of the classified contents of intelligence collected under the authorities of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, is illegal.

Fox reported that King is familiar with the documents, but the news outlet also reported that only House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and ranking Democrat Adam Schiff have personally seen the intelligence documents, while other members have been given broad summaries.

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