Trump accuses Obama administration official of 'crime'
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump accused an official of the Obama administration of committing a crime by asking to "unmask" the names of Trump's associates in intelligence documents, media reports said.
Speaking to The New York Times on Wednesday, Trump said former White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice may have committed a crime when requesting to unmask the names of Trump's associates,and called this "the biggest story".
Trump offered no evidence to back his allegations or any names of other Obama administration officials he said were also involved. He did not suggest that his assertions came from new intelligence reports but said he would explain himself further "at the right time."
In response, Erin Pelton, a spokesperson for Rice, told CNN: "I'm not going to dignify the President's ludicrous charge with a comment."
It was revealed recently that during her time as government official, Rice requested names in intelligence documents detailing communications of the Trump transition team to be "unmasked". These names are usually redacted or even given vague descriptors like 'Male 1'.
The Trump associates, who were incidentally mentioned on intercepted communications during the Obama administration, were not under surveillance themselves, but had been recorded while speaking with foreigners who were under surveillance by the US.
Rice has denied any wrongdoing, saying in an interview with MSNBC the allegations that somehow Obama administration officials "utilised intelligence for political purposes are absolutely false".