Former President Barack Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice might have committed a crime by requesting the identities of his associates mentioned in communications intercepted by security agencies, President Donald Trump told The New York Times on Wednesday.
"I think it's going to be the biggest story," Trump said in an Oval Office interview published under the bylines of Times reporters Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush.
He repeatedly declined to provide evidence, according to the report.
"It's such an important story for our country and the world," Trump added. "It is one of the big stories of our time."
Asked if Rice, who denied leaking any information, had committed a crime, the president told the Times, "Do I think? Yes, I think."
Trump said he would explain himself "at the right time."
Rice unmasked the names of several U.S. citizens who had connections to Trump's campaign and transition teams, it was reported Monday. She went on MSNBC the following day to explain her actions.
Rice told Andrea Mitchell she unmasked Americans' names but "not for any political purposes."
Rice also denied leaking anything to the media, and she said people in Trump's inner circle and/or those who worked in Trump Tower were not specifically targeted for any surveillance operations during the Obama administration.
"There was no such collection or surveillance on Trump Tower or Trump individuals," she said. "The president of the United States and people in the White House do not have the ability to order such collection."
During the Times interview, Trump called out that newspaper and other media outlets for what he said was a failure to cover the Rice story this week.
CNN's Chris Cuomo labeled the Rice story "a fake scandal" during his Tuesday show.
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