by Itunuoluwa Adebo
President Trump said on Wednesday that the former national security adviser Susan Rice, may have committed a crime by seeking to learn the identities of Trump associates swept up in surveillance of foreign officials by United States spy agencies.
Trump backed his claim up with no evidence, and current and former intelligence officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations have said they do not believe Ms. Rice’s actions were unusual or unlawful.
Since March 4, when Trump posted on Twitter that former President Obama had “wiretapped” him at Trump Tower during the campaign, the president and his allies have repeatedly sought evidence trying to corroborate that claim, despite flat denials from the director of the F.B.I., and other senior intelligence officials.
The interview with The Times was supposed to be focused on Mr. Trump’s plans for large-scale spending on the nation’s infrastructure. But moments after it began, the president began talking about Ms. Rice. “I think the Susan Rice thing is a massive story. I think it’s a massive, massive story. All over the world,” Trump said.
“It’s a bigger story than you know,” the president added, also saying that new information would emerge “in terms of what other people have done also.”“The Russia story is a total hoax. There has been absolutely nothing coming out of that,” he said.
Through a spokeswoman, Ms. Rice said, “I’m not going to dignify the president’s ludicrous charge with a comment.” In an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, Ms. Rice said she had done nothing wrong.