Donald Trump slanders Susan Rice, despite evidence fully exonerating her


Donald Trump resurrected his now debunked lies about former National Security Adviser Susan Rice in an interview with Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo, setting Rice up for what could be the perfect lawsuit against him.

Donald Trump cannot stop lying. He lied his way through his presidential election, and since taking office, he has made outrageous and debunked accusations about President Barack Obama and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice. And he tries to defend his slanderous lies with even more lies.

In an interview with Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo, Trump tried to clean up some of his "wiretapping" lies by absurdly insisting that his tweets, in which he explicitly accused President Obama of tapping the phones at Trump Tower, were really about Rice all along.

TRUMP: It's so obvious what's going on. When you look at Susan Rice and what's going on, and so many people are coming up to me and apologizing now, they say "You know, you were right when you said that." Perhaps I didn't know how right I was, because nobody knew the extent of it.

BARTIROMO: When you sent that infamous tweet, was that what you were referring to, the Susan Rice?

TRUMP: Well, sure. We're talking about surveillance. It was "wiretapped" in quotes.

This is a lie:

TRUMP: The New York Times had the word "wiretapped" in the headline of the first edition, and then they took it out of there fast when they realized. But I put "wiretapped" in quotes.

Another lie:

TRUMP: Look, wiretapping is an old-fashioned thing. Look at this room. This room used to have a lot of wires, now it doesn't have so many wires. But, we talked about surveillance or whatever, and you look at the extent of the surveillance. Me and so many other people, it's terrible.

BARTIROMO: She said she didn't do it for political reasons, Susan Rice told Andrea Mitchell—

TRUMP: Does anybody really believe that? Nobody believes that. Even the people that try to protect her in the news media. It's such a big story.

As was the case the first time Trump told these lies, the facts are not on his side. Rice did not conduct or request any surveillance at all. She requested the names of people who had already been surveilled, and those names did not include Donald Trump.

While it is not easy to prove slander or libel against a public official, according to former Bush ethics lawyer Richard Painter, Trump might have met that bar with his statement about President Obama, and a new report by CNN indicates the documents that were the supposed basis of Trump's false claim against Rice actually exonerate her:

After a review of the same intelligence reports brought to light by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides have so far found no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal, multiple sources in both parties tell CNN.

Their private assessment contradicts President Donald Trump's allegations that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice broke the law by requesting the "unmasking" of US individuals' identities. Trump had claimed the matter was a "massive story."

The source of those documents, of course, was the Trump White House, which Trump's claims of evidence supporting his baseless wiretapping accusations were false, and he knew it.

Of course, potential lawsuits for slander and libel might be the least of Trump's problems to emerge from this flap. Time will tell whether his his collusion with now-recused House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes constitutes criminal obstruction, which could be an impeachable offense. The only way to settle all of these questions is with an independent investigation and a special prosecutor.