WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday floated the possibility that former national security adviser Susan Rice committed a crime, but he provided no evidence.
He told the New York Times that it was “going to be the biggest story” and said he would explain further “at the right time.”
Conservatives have charged that Rice sought the “unmasking” of Trump associates listed in intelligence reports about intercepted communications with foreigners for political reasons. Identities of Americans in such reports are normally “masked” by calling them “U.S. Person 1” and “U.S. person 2,” for example.
Rice has said asking intelligence officials for the identities of Americans listed in reports in order to better understand them is a “longstanding, established process" and told MSNBC Tuesday that allegations she or other Obama administration officials used intelligence for political purposes “absolutely false."
Trump told the New York Times Wednesday that media outlets, including the Times, have not adequately covered the story.
At the same time, he also praised Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, whose show The O’Reilly Factor has been shedding advertisers this week after news reports revealed he had settled five lawsuits alleging sexual harassment.
“I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Trump told the Times in an Oval Office interview. “Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
Trump himself has faced criticism and lawsuits for sexual harassment, many of them spurred by the disclosure last October of a 2005 tape that included Trump bragging about groping women without their consent.
In the Access Hollywood tape, Trump said, "I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her," adding that he immediately starts kissing "beautiful" women when he encounters them.
"I don't even wait." Trump says. "And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything — grab them by the p----."