President Trump says he thinks Obama adviser Susan Rice committed crime

WASHINGTON, April 5 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, declining requests for evidence, said on Wednesday he thinks Susan Rice, a former top adviser to President Barack Obama, committed a crime by seeking the identities of Trump associates mentioned in intercepted communications, the New York Times reported.

In an interview, Trump declined to tell the New York Times whether he had reviewed intelligence to bolster his claim about Rice but said he would explain himself "at the right time."

Rice declined to comment on the president's remarks when contacted by Reuters.

RELATED: A look at Susan Rice

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Former Obama adviser Susan Rice
National Security Advisor Susan Rice, gets ready for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, and U.S. President Barack Obama's joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on October 18, 2016 in Washington, DC, USA. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice heads to her seat before a ceremony awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to various receipients in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 22: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, and White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice visit during the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama presented the medal to 19 living and two posthumous pioneers in science, sports, public service, human rights, politics and the arts. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew (L) and National Security Advisor Susan Rice listen as Greek and US President talk before a meeting at the Presidential Mansion on November 15, 2016 in Athens. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
National Security Advisor Susan Rice speaks with AFP during an exclusive interview in her office at the White House in Washington, DC, November 14, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice (R) and former Defense Intelligence Agency Director retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, incoming White House national security adviser, shake hands at the U.S. Institute of Peace "2017 Passing the Baton" conference in Washington, U.S., January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice (L) speaks to the media next to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest in the Brady Press Briefing Room inside the White House, in Washington, September 19, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
National Security Adviser Susan Rice (R) and Press Secretary Jay Carney walk away from Marine One on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, May 28, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks as he meets in New York with representatives (not pictured) of the five Arab nations that contributed in air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, September 23, 2014. Representatives from Iraq were also at the meeting. Sitting next to Obama are U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd L), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power (L) and U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice (R). The United States and its Arab allies bombed Syria for the first time on Tuesday, killing scores of Islamic State fighters and members of a separate al Qaeda-linked group, opening a new front against militants by joining Syria's three-year-old civil war. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)
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Trump and his allies have focused on unsubstantiated reports that Rice, who served as Obama's national security adviser, disclosed the names of Trump aides swept up in U.S. surveillance of foreign targets.

Rice dismissed the reports as "absolutely false" in an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday.

According to five U.S. intelligence officials, Rice followed standard procedure in requesting the National Security Agency to reveal to her the names of American citizens who had been in contact with Russians whose communications were monitored by U.S. intelligence.

It is unlikely she would have know that any unidentified American had a connection to Trump, the officials said.

SEE ALSO: Susan Rice denies political motivation behind unmasking requests

As White House national security adviser, Rice could not order the NSA to reveal the identities of any Americans. Instead, she could only request it to do so.

Such requests, which a number of senior officials are authorized to make, trigger a legal and intelligence review by the agency to determine whether revealing the name has potential intelligence value and could expose a security threat to the United States, said one of the officials, who is familiar with the process and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal intelligence procedures.

There is nothing unusual, much less suspicious, about any request by Rice, said another intelligence official, especially since it could have revealed Russian intelligence contacts or agents operating in the United States. This official and two other intelligence officials said the NSA often receives dozens of such requests in a month. (Reporting by Susan Heavey, Mark Hosenball and John Walcott; Editing by Tim Ahmann and James Dalgleish)

RELATED: President Trump accuses Obama on Twitter of wiretapping him

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President Trump accuses Obama on Twitter of wiretapping him
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
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