Don Lemon: "An Effort To Tar And Feather" Susan Rice, No Evidence She Did Anything Improper

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On Tuesday night's edition of CNN Tonight, host Don Lemon said there is an effort to "tar and feather" Susan Rice even though there is "no evidence" she has done anything wrong.

"Do you think that this is a diversion from this Russia story because so far we see no evidence that she's done anything improper and it seems like an effort to tar and feather her to try to make a lie the truth the original tweet by the president?" the CNN host asked his panel.

CNN contributor and former Obama admin green jobs czar Van Jones went one step further and said Susan Rice is being "tarred, featered and burned alive" for doing her job "in a good way."

"Listen, Susan Rice is being tarred, feathered and burned alive for doing her job in a good way," Jones said. "What is she supposed to do? She's a national security advisor. Somebody puts information on her desk that says people are trying to undermine the President of the United States and they may be, you know, involved with Russians or whatever."

Transcript, via CNN:

LEMON: Do you think that, again, Mark says we may found out something else. But do you think that this is a diversion from this Russia story because so far we see no evidence that she's done anything improper and it seems like an effort to tar and feather her to try to make a lie the truth the original tweet by the president.

MUDD: There are couple simple questions here and they are separate. The first question which we continue to lose track of is what happened in the electoral process where a foreign government, in this case a foreign adversary interfered with that process. Valid question for the Senate committee, valid question until a few weeks ago for the House committee. And valid question for the FBI.

LEMON: Yes.

MUDD: There's a separate question that's been happening for the past 100 years in Washington. In the midst of that investigation who is leaking information. I think that's a significant question that the FBI will investigate. If you ask me as a former intelligence professional, compared to the question of Russian intervention in election, who leaked information is about third tier.

That happens all the time on issues related to national security. If she leaked the information she should be investigated but we're losing track, Don, of the number one question.

LEMON: Yes.

MUDD: Can Americans break free and secure. That's the question we ought to be pursuing.

LEMON: And listen, don't get me wrong. I think that if someone leak that should be investigated, but that is a separate story.

MUDD: Yes.

LEMON: If there is a problem with the way -- hang on. If there's a problem with the way that we collect information or we listen to Americans or listen phone calls, that is a legitimate thing to investigate and talk about but that is a separate story and it should not be put into the mix into this story.

I'm going to bring you in, Jason. But first I want to get Kevin. And Kevin, republican Senator Tom Cotton weighed in on these accusations. I want you to listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM COTTON, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Susan Rice is the Typhoid Mary of the Obama administration foreign policy. Every time something went wrong she seemed to turn up in the middle of it whether it was these allegations of improper unmasking and potential improper surveillance, whether it was Benghazi or many of the other fiascos over the eight years of the Obama administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Kevin, Susan Rice is named radioactive for conservatives especially following the Benghazi controversy, you know that it was a film or what have you. Is that part of the reason why there's so much inclination to call for an investigation now that her name is coming up?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, yes. I think it is. I mean, I think that Typhoid Mary reference was lost on a lot of people but at the heart of people but at the heart of it is that there is a lot of skepticism about the veracity of Susan Rice.

And I don't think that's just with conservatives. I think the media has a right to be skeptical of Susan Rice given her role and Senator Cotton eluded to it in pointing to a YouTube video as the sole source of the Benghazi attacks.

JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Come on, Kevin.

MADDEN: So those questions and her credibility, you know, there is a lot of skepticism about that. And some of that is warranted. And I think if you couple that with the fact that many days ago prior to the MSNBC interview that Susan Rice conducted today, she did indicate that she had no knowledge whatsoever about the unmasking allegations that were made by Congressman Nunes. When in fact, today, she seem to elude that she did have knowledge about unmasking. So, those are questions, those are doubts that have been raised.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But I do have to say, Kevin that she...

MADDEN: And as Mark Preston and Philip Mudd have eluded to it, that is why we have a Senate investigation and that's why we have that congressional oversight to get to the bottom of it.

LEMON: Today I watch very closely she spoke in generalities about the unmasking process and in the other interview she said she didn't know. And maybe she has no idea because she doesn't know what in the information that Nunes has.

And listen, that's going to be up for her, up to her to, you know, to whether she's telling the truth about that. But I understood those two interviews to be different. Van Jones, go ahead.

VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Well, look, this is much to do about nothing. I mean, not even nothing. You got to go to the hood and say much to do about absolutely nothing.

LEMON: Nothing.

JONES: Listen, Susan Rice is being tarred, feathered and burned alive for doing her job in a good way. What is she supposed to do? She's a national security advisor. Somebody puts information on her desk that says people are trying to undermine the President of the United States and they may be, you know, involved with Russians or whatever.

The only thing she's supposed to do is say, well, gee, who is doing this? That's all she did.

LEMON: OK.

JONES: And now you've got this entire thing a whipped up and ginned up and people are jumping up and down doing back flipped and talking about Benghazi because that's what they do when they don't want to talk about not who was unmasked but what was unmasked, what has been unmasked is the fact that there are Russian villains playing tootsies with the president's team possibly.

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