Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice has reportedly declined an invitation to testify before a Senate panel investigating Russian attempts to influence the U.S. election, walking back her earlier acceptance, The Washington Post reports.
However, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, reportedly told Ms. Rice that he did not approve of Mr. Graham’s invitation. According to a letter from Ms. Rice’s lawyer obtained by CNN, that scuppered her willingness to testify.
“Senator Whitehouse has informed us by letter that he did not agree to Chairman Graham’s invitation to Ambassador Rice, a significant departure from the bipartisan invitations extended to other witnesses,” attorney Kathryn Ruemmler wrote. “Under these circumstances, Ambassador Rice respectfully declines Senator Graham’s invitation to testify.”
Citing “a source familiar with Rice’s discussions,” CNN reported that Mr. Whitehouse didn’t think Ms. Rice’s presence was relevant.
According to that source, Ms. Rice sees Mr. Graham’s request a “diversionary play.”