In light of a newly declassified email written by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice -- sent to herself on Inauguration Day in 2017 -- Sen. Marco Rubio said on Wednesday that former FBI Director James Comey has damaged the bureau with his handling of the Michael Flynn case.
“All of this is a bizarre turn of events and there is a lot of legitimate questions to ask about whether, in fact, the FBI did not follow normal protocols here,” Rubio, R-Fla., told “Fox & Friends.”
Rubio said that it is really important to protect the integrity and trustworthiness of the FBI. Rubio said that that type of behavior undermines the FBI and damages the bureau.
A newly released email appeared to indicate Rice had knowledge of the surveillance that took place that led to the "unmasking" of then-incoming National Security Adviser (NSA) Flynn from his communications with the then-Russian ambassador.
The email, which was written on Jan. 20, 2017, documented a Jan. 5 Oval Office meeting with then-President Barack Obama and others, during which he provided guidance on how law enforcement needed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race. Parts of it were released previously, but the section on then-FBI Director James Comey's response had been classified as "TOP SECRET" until now.
Comey suggested to Obama that the National Security Council (NSC) might not want to pass "sensitive information related to Russia" to Flynn, according to a newly declassified email that Flynn's predecessor sent herself on Inauguration Day.
The section showed that Comey affirmed to Obama he was proceeding "by the book," and went on to discuss concerns about Flynn's known conversations with Russia's ambassador at the time -- conversations that would play a role later in the criminal case against Flynn.
Rubio said that the intelligence community gathers information from a variety of sources, analyzes it, and then relays that information to policymakers. Rubio said policymakers ultimately have the decision-making power based on such information.
“Sometimes policymakers look at that information and disagree with the analysis. It is really important that our agencies provide analysis that is accurate, but not the analysis that is biased for political purposes or analysis that is designed to further a political narrative.”
Rubio said that it is also important that information collected by intelligence agencies does not get leaked to the public to “further a political narrative.”
“At the end of the day, elements of a phone call between Mr. Flynn and the ambassador from Russia at the time were leaked to the press. Someone broke the law … I think that alone is cause for accountability to find out who did it. That is information that was owned not by the intelligence community. It was owned by the FBI, they have possession of it.”
Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., made public on Wednesday a list of Obama officials who purportedly requested to “unmask” the identity of Flynn, who at the time was Trump’s incoming national security adviser. The list was declassified by Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell and sent to Grassley and Johnson.
The roster featured top-ranking figures, including then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-FBI Director James Comey, then-CIA Director John Brennan, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Obama’s then-chief of staff Denis McDonough.
Fox News' Gregg Re contributed to this report.