Did Susan Rice spy on the Trump transition team?

Rep. Peter King and Sen. James Lankford join 'The O'Reilly Factor' to discuss unmasking controversy


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 4, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: Continuing now with our lead story. Did National Security Advisor Susan Rice spy on the Trump campaign and transition team?

Joining us from Washington, Congressman Peter King, member of the House Intelligence Committee. And Senator James Lankford, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Now, letters have been circulating demanding that Ambassador Rice come in and testify in front of both of your committees. Senator, we begin with you. How do you assess the situation so far? Say 10 is the most serious story. One is the least serious. Where is this?

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK), SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE MEMBER: I would say it's pretty high close to a 10. Because the accusation as it sits out there is that the Obama administration and people within the Obama administration were using their office in excess to official documents to get access to then political accusations. This is the same accusations flying around with the IRS, for instance, that the IRS was using their tools for political purposes to be able to silent conservatives.

If we get close to the campaign time period and they are using official documents, classified documents at that to either release names that's obviously a legal issue, to target individuals that are American citizens that were masked, that's called reverse targeting. But when you say you are targeting people internationally but actually using that to be able to target American citizens, that's not legal, or to be able to use any official document for political purposes. Those are all serious.

Okay. Now, you heard Malia Zimmerman say that the track that she was on with Adam Housley was that it was a political play just as you are concerned about. But if Susan Rice comes before your committee, I can almost guarantee she is going to take the fifth, Senator. Not going to answer your questions.

LANKFORD: We still need to ask the questions. I mean, we have a voluntary reach-out to be able to go to her. We don't want to raise it to a level of subpoena unless you absolutely have to. But we have got a lot of witnesses that we're in the process. So far all of the witnesses we have requested have voluntarily agreed to meet with us. We would hope she would, as well.

: Okay. But you need to be under oath, Congressman King, for it mean anything.


: Do you expect that the House is going to aggressively pursue that?

KING: I am certain they will. We will have to ask Chairman Nunes to be certain. But I'm actually confident that he will. This is -- as Jim Lankford said that if all, even most of these charges that are out there, accusations that are out there against Susan Rice are true. This does rise to a level of very high scandal because it's such an abuse of privacy. I believe it violates the law. And it really is undermining the presidency of the United States.

Whether it's Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. This is something that cannot be allowed. So, again, we don't know yet, but based on this very reliable sources, these are very, very serious charges that she has to answer. And by the way they follow logically what Devin Nunes has been saying for the last two weeks.

O'REILLY: Now, do you expect your colleagues in the Democratic Party on the House Intel Committee to agree with you, Congressman? That this has to be done in a way that's methodical to the American people know the truth or do you expect obstruction?

KING: I think there will be some obstruction. They will accuse us of trying to deflect the issue after way from Russia. We are going to go ahead with it. We have to go ahead with it. And to me, listen, I'm one of those who believe we have to examine, you know, the Russian issue as far as we possibly can but also this. And right now to me there is more credible accusations, if you will, on the side against Susan Rice than there is against President Trump when it comes to Russia.

O'REILLY: All right. Now do you see it in the Senate as being obstructionist thing on the Senate Intel Committee or do you think they are going to cooperate?

LANKFORD: I think they will cooperate. We have really locked arms throughout this investigation from the very beginning which was for us months ago in the starting that we agreed we are going to go where the facts go. And we don't know where those facts are going to go. But we need research. We have got to be able to pull original documents and sources. Talk to people that are originally involved in the investigation. Pull as many people out as we can to be able to their personal testimony. But let the facts lead us through it not let bipartisan pull us through it.

O'REILLY: Yes. But it's got to be hard. Because, you know, a lot of people disagree with me that Ambassador Rice will take the fifth but I think she will. Now, Senator, when you heard her on March 22nd said she didn't know anything about any Trump surveillance and then changed a little bit, it's a nuances that, yes, I was interested for this reason telling NBC that, did that raise anything or do you think that's just a natural answer?

LANKFORD: I think that's a natural answer. I think the bigger issue is to be able to press some of these issues when she said she didn't leak anything. You got to ask why were these names so important to the National Security advisor. Obviously the FBI, some of those folks I can understand in a criminal investigation or background. But to the National Security advisor, why is it important? How many staff around her were receiving that and was she aware any of the staff around her were leaking it the question to her was very specific. I didn't do it. And what you need to know is how many places did that information go after it was unmasked.

O'REILLY: Okay. One more question to you, Congressman. As I mentioned, the White House gets a briefing every morning from the Intel Agencies. Have you ever heard of a National Security advisor taking this kind of an interest for more than a year in a campaign or a transition or anything like that? You have been around for a while. Have you ever heard of anything like that?

KING: Bill, I think it's very unusual for a National Security advisor to take this type of interest at all. It may happen occasionally, but, to me, that's not her job. She is an investigator. She is not a cop. She is not an FBI agent. Her job is to set policy. So, if this is what people are saying it is. This is totally unusual and totally wrong and inappropriate. And if we are talking about veracity here, remember, our first impression of Susan Rice and lasting impression was when she went on all the shows to say that the video was the source of the Benghazi --

O'REILLY: But I don't think that's fair here. Because this is a different situation. And I know that she is embarrassed by that she had to be.

KING: Well, she is embarrassed because she got caught.

O'REILLY: Again, you are assigning a motive to her. I can't. But she does have a history there. But I don't know if that's -- if she should prejudge this.

KING: I'm not prejudging. I'm just saying when you are factor in everything you also consider prior statements and prior conduct.

O'REILLY: Okay. And that's true. Gentlemen, thanks you very much.

KING: Thank you, Bill.

O'REILLY: Please keep us posted. If you get anything, please let us know. Our audience is very, very interested in this story.

LANKFORD: Thank you, Bill.

KING: Thank you, Senator.

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