Stephanopoulos Tees Up Lying Rice To Smear Trump Administration

After a couple of whirlwind weeks of the media bashing President Trump on everything from how he “lectured” U.S. allies at the NATO meeting, to his son-in-law Jared Kushner allegedly looking for a Russian back channel, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos sought the opinion of Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice. During her appearance on This Week on Sunday, Stephanopoulos gave Rice free reign to smear the current administration, often teeing her up for it himself.

At one point during their conversation, Stephanopoulos requested that Rice expand on her vocal criticisms of Trump. “More broadly on the President’s foreign policy, you had a tough critique in The New York Times yesterday,” he prefaced. “One of the things you wrote is that Russia has been a big winner under President Trump. How so?”

According to her, the world no longer trusted the United States to be a friend and ally in a time of war:

We need these partners. And when we alienate our Western allies, in particular when the President went to NATO and failed to reaffirm, as every president has since 1948, that we are committed and remain committed to the defense of our NATO partners, he sent shock waves through Europe and that is exactly what Vladimir Putin wants.

She then suggested that Trump’s actions were scoring points for Putin. “And when the United States, the most important player in NATO, casts doubt about our commitment to at the vital alliance, it undermines our security,” she explained to Stephanopoulos. “It undermines the security of our closest allies. And it's a big win for Vladimir Putin.”

A short time later, Stephanopoulos wanted to know if she wished the Obama administration had done more to let the public know about Trump’s alleged ties to the Russians before it was too late. “With the benefit of hindsight, should President Obama and your team done more to blow the whistle on Russian interference earlier in the campaign,” the Clinton lackey asked the Obama lackey.

She blamed the media for chasing shinier objects instead of their findings. “I think what's unfortunate is that that very important warning got lost in the coverage of other events that transpired,” she claimed. “It was indeed later the very same day that the Access Hollywood videotape came out, more WikiLeaks came out. And so, I think that it didn't get the attention that it deserved.”

The question of the Obama Administration’s role in stifling Trump was similar to an incident that occurred on MSNBC, where Katy Tur argued with an Obama flack over who’s job it was to smear Trump before the election.

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Their conversation eventually came around to the allegation that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner tried to set up a back channel with Russia to discuss Syria during the transition. Rice asserted that it was something that was uncommon, saying: “Well George, I think, these reports, if accurate, are concerning … And we do have communications between transition teams and foreign governments. Rarely with adversaries like the Russians.” She then claimed that “I have worked in this field for 25 years. And I have never heard of such a thing.

Both of those statements were lies. As discussed during last week’s Meet the Press on NBC by The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel, candidate Obama (not President-elect Obama) sent a representative to Iran, a U.S. adversary, to negotiate a back channel. “Let me set the scene for you: It’s 2008, we are having an election and candidate Obama, he’s not even president-elect, sends William Miller over to Iran to establish a backchannel, and let the Iranians know should he win the election they will have friendlier terms,” she educated the panel.

Rice’s falsehoods once again went unchallenged on a Sunday show, just like when she lied about the Benghazi attack being caused by a YouTube video. But he did let her defend herself from the subpoenas issued by the House in their Russia investigation about her possible role in unmasking American citizens. That’s a story ABC had failed to mention when the news first broke. They instead chose to focus only on the subpoenas directed at Trump associates. 

Transcript below:

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ABC
This Week
June 4, 2017
9:09:23 AM Eastern

(…)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: More broadly on the President’s foreign policy, you had a tough critique in The New York Times yesterday. One of the things you wrote is that Russia has been a big winner under President Trump. How so?

SUSAN RICE: Well George, the United States has been the leader of the world because the world trusts and respects us. Because we have an unprecedented network of alliances with close partners that work with us, whether it's to defeat ISIS, whether it’s to deal with a threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon or to go after challenges of a new sort like pandemic disease or climate change.

We need these partners. And when we alienate our Western allies, in particular when the President went to NATO and failed to reaffirm, as every president has since 1948, that we are committed and remain committed to the defense of our NATO partners, he sent shock waves through Europe and that is exactly what Vladimir Putin wants. Because Putin's interests, as he reaffirmed just on Friday, is to see NATO weakened and ultimately destroyed. And when the United States, the most important player in NATO, casts doubt about our commitment to at the vital alliance, it undermines our security. It undermines the security of our closest allies. And it's a big win for Vladimir Putin.

(…)

STEPHANOPOULOS: With the benefit of hind sight, should president Obama and your team done more to blow the whistle on Russian interference earlier in the campaign?

RICE: Well George, we did blow the whistle as soon as we had a unified assessment from the intelligence agencies about the Russian role. And on October 7th, the director of national intelligence, with the secretary of homeland security put out an unprecedented statement, very, very plain, saying to the American people, “this interference is happening. And it's happening at the direction of the highest levels of the Russian government.”

I think what's unfortunate is that that very important warning got lost in the coverage of other events that transpired. It was indeed later the very same day that the Access Hollywood videotape came out. More WikiLeaks came out. And so, I think that it didn't get the attention that it deserved. But, we worked also very closely with our 50 states to ensure that they were aware of the threat and took all the necessary precautions to protect the integrity of our voting system and our voter registration rolls. So I think we did what we needed to do. And I'll -- I think it's regrettable that other issues clouded the focus on that very important statement.

(…)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Would it have been appropriate for Jared Kushner to have a back channel during the transition? Your successor H.R. McMaster has suggested there's nothing wrong with it.

RICE: Well George, I think, these reports, if accurate, are concerning. Not just because of communication between the Trump transition and the Russian government. And we do have communications between transition teams and foreign governments. Rarely with adversaries like the Russians. Rarely with the frequency that we’ve seen. What I found most concerning about that report, which, if true is that Jared Kushner suggested to the Russian ambassador that they communicate using Russian communications in a Russian diplomatic facility to hide their conversation from the United States government. That's extraordinary. If not mind-boggling. From the point of view of a national security professional.

I have worked in this field for 25 years. And I have never heard of such a thing. The United States and from one administration to the next, has one government, one president at a time. And we worked very hard to do a professional and effective handoff. A seamless one. We worked very hard in this transition to accomplish that. And, to do so transparently. And that's the hallmark of what make our democratic system resilient and our ability to endure as a leader and a democratic icon for the world.

(…)


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