President Trump told Fox News on Wednesday that former national security adviser Susan Rice "may have" committed a crime by trying to unmask the identities of Trump associates caught up in surveillance reports -- though the ex-Obama official contends her actions were routine and above board.
Asked directly by Fox News if Rice may have broken a law, Trump did not mince words.
''It certainly looks like she may have," Trump said, shortly after his joint press conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the White House.
The president earlier told The New York Times he thinks Rice committed a crime. A Rice spokesman told the Times in response they would not "dignify the president’s ludicrous charge with a comment.”
On Tuesday, Rice adamantly defended her past requests for Americans' identities in intelligence reports, suggesting it was part of her job. Speaking with MSNBC, Rice did not deny that she had read intelligence information with unmasked names of Trump associates but rejected the notion she had done so for political gain.
"The allegation is somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. ... That's absolutely false," Rice said, while also denying having leaked any information.
Trump's critics have described his widely disputed allegations of targeted wiretapping as a distraction from the broader concerns about his associates' contacts with Russian officials.
But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is looking at both angles, and recently revealed that he'd learned Trump team members were caught up in surveillance of foreign targets.
Serafin Gomez is a White House Producer for FOX News Channel, who also covered the 2016 election as a Special Events & Politics producer and former special campaign correspondent for Fox News Latino. Fin formerly worked as the Miami Bureau Producer for Fox News Channel where he covered Florida Politics & Latin America. Follow him on Twitter: @Finnygo
John Roberts joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in January 2011 as a senior national correspondent and is based in the Atlanta bureau.