Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) on Wednesday urged Barack Obama's former national security adviser, Susan Rice, to reconsider her decision not to testify next week before a Senate subcommittee on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Feinstein appeared on MSNBC with host Chuck Todd to discuss the latest on the probe into Russia's meddling in the election and Rice's refusal to testify.
Rice's lawyer, Kathryn Ruemmler, sent a letter Wednesday on behalf of her client to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism–Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), respectively–explaining why Rice was declining an invitation 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. Under these circumstances, Ambassador Rice respectfully declines Senator Graham's invitation to testify," Ruemmler wrote.
Todd referenced the letter and asked Feinstein whether she believes Rice should testify and whether she would sign a bipartisan letter inviting Rice to testify.
"Well, I think she ought to consider it," Feinstein said. "She has gone public. I saw her on Fareed [Zakaria]'s show Sunday. I saw her today and it seems to me that–I guess I've never heard that it has to be a bipartisan letter."
"This is sort of a new criteria, but she is certainly within her rights of saying, ‘I'm now retired. I'm not going to do it,'" Feinstein said.
Feinstein concluded that Rice should go forward and accept the invitation to testify because she has done press interviews recently.
The subcommittee is holding a hearing next Monday that will include testimony from former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Republicans are asking Rice to testify after reports surfaced last month that she requested on several occasions the identities of "masked" U.S. persons in intelligence reports linked to President Trump's transition and campaign.
Rice denied the accusation that she spied on Trump aides for political purposes during a MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell last month.
"The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes," Rice said. "That's absolutely false."