Who better than former Obama/Biden official Susan Rice to talk about Joe Biden’s dealings with Ukraine and the identify of an anonymous whistleblower? (Rice in 2017 came under fire for requesting identities of dozens of people connected to Donald Trump.) Apparently, that’s exactly who the journalists at CBS This Morning wanted for an interview.
Co-host Tony Dokoupil hesitantly offered the former National Security Adviser an opportunity to defend Biden: “Ukraine will revisit some of the claims against the Bidens. Even if they didn't break the law, and there's no evidence that they did, I remember it was politically awkward in 2015 when his son was involved in the country and he was dealing with anti-corruption efforts. Did he mishandle the situation at the very least?”
Unsurprisingly, the woman who worked for the last administration insisted that Biden did nothing wrong: “Not in my opinion. Joe Biden was doing what he was asked to do by the president of the United States consistent with serving our policy interests.”
What do you think about the President attacking the whistleblower? How concerned should we be about that? And Mike Pompeo on the call, is that normal that the Secretary of State would be on the call? That the whistleblower was talking about?
Bloomberg in 2017 exposed this detail: “[The] former national security adviser requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign.”
Of course, that never came up during the seven-minute interview. Instead, King offered softballs, such as teeing up Rice to attack the Trump administration: “When you heard the President yesterday say that China should investigate the Bidens, what did you think?”
A partial transcript of the segment is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
8:17 a.m. Eastern
GAYLE KING: Susan Rice was a top national security official during all eight years of the Obama administration. She was a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Then she became the President's national security adviser in 2013. Rice worked with President Obama and others to shape America's foreign policy and led the National Security Council. Her new book is called Tough Love. Great title. My Story of the Things Worth Fighting for. It's published by Simon and Schuster which, by now, if you watch on a regular basis, you know it's a division of CBS. We hope you watch this show on a regular basis. Lucky us that you are here on the day that the news is so much in your wheelhouse. I promise we'll get to your book. First, we have to start with the news of the day. When you heard the President yesterday say that China should investigate the Bidens, what did you think?
SUSAN RICE: Truthfully?
RICE: I couldn't believe it. I mean, every day we hear something new that causes you to say, “did that really happen.” This for me was qualitatively different.
RICE: Because the President of the United States was welcoming and inviting our principal foreign adversary to intervene in our election, again, as he did in 2016 with Russia. Here's the difficult problem with China --- China is currently --
KING: Denies that he intervened in the election.
RICE: He can't deny he asked Russia to intervene. Remember, if you have the emails, it’s the same thing. He gets on television before the world and asks China to give him dirt --
KING: But he says this, he tweeted, “He has the absolute right to ask other countries to investigate corruption.” Why is that not correct?
MASON: What are you thinking? You've negotiated with them [China]. What are they thinking?
TONY DOKOUPIL: So, fair to say you don't think that the President has a genuinely held belief that Joe Biden and his son are potentially corrupt.
MASON: Can we talk about the server surrounding this phone call? And that the fact that this -- the call itself, the information about the call was moved to a specific server which is considered —
RICE: Super classified.
MASON: Super classified. Explain what the server is.
MASON: Would a phone call typically be moved?
KING: What do you think about the president attacking the whistleblower? How much -- how concerned should we be about that? And Mike Pompeo on the call, is that normal that the Secretary of State would be on the call? That the whistleblower was talking about?
RICE: In my experience in the Obama administration, I cannot recall an instance, not one, where the secretary of state was on a presidential phone call with a foreign leader. Typically he would get a readout later and perhaps get the transcript. So --
KING: Can’t they do it differently in the Trump administration? Doesn’t make it wrong.
DOKOUPIL: We learned this morning that Ukraine will revisit some of the claims against the Bidens. Even if they didn't break the law, and there's no evidence that they did, I remember it was politically awkward in 2015 when his son was involved in the country and he was dealing with anti-corruption efforts. Did he mishandle the situation at the very least?
RICE: Joe Biden?
RICE: Not in my opinion. Joe Biden was doing what he was asked to do by the president of the United States consistent with serving our policy interests.