(CNSNews.com) - Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley have sent a list of questions to Susan Rice, the former national security adviser to President Barack Obama, following the discovery of an email that Rice apparently sent to herself on Jan. 20, 2017 -- the day Donald Trump was inaugurated.
"I found an odd and disturbing email from Susan Rice," Graham told Fox News's Martha McCallum on Monday night.
"At 12:15 on January the 20th, the day of the inauguration, she emails herself about a meeting that occurred on January the 5th in the Oval Office. And she says in the email that the president was being briefed by the intelligence community about Russian hacking in the 2016 election, and he had a follow-on, brief meeting with Sally Yates, Jim Comey, herself, and Vice President Biden. And she quotes what the president said."
Rice's email read in part:
President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities "by the book." The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.
Graham said it's "odd and disturbing" that Rice would send herself an email on Obama's last day in office talking about a Jan. 5 conversation where Obama instructed the FBI to handle the Russia investigation "by the book."
We now know the FBI's Russia investigation "was anything but by the book," Graham said.
"So, what I'm worried about -- is this an effort by the president to basically get himself on the record through Susan Rice to make sure that from his point of view, everything was done by the book?
"The question is, did the president know anything about the FISA warrant application?" Graham asked. "Did Susan Rice know that the warrant application included a dossier from Mr. Steele, when he was on the payroll of the Democratic Party, coming from Russian sources; that he was a political operative being paid by the Democratic Party and that the information in the FISA warrant application was a dossier that was political in nature and that Mr. Steele hated...candidate Trump and was trying to do what he could to beat him. That's not exactly by the book," Graham said.
"I mean, it's the oddest thing in the world to send an email to yourself on inauguration day about a conversation held on January the 5th where the president tells the law enforcement community and the Intel community, 'Now, when you look at this Russian stuff, you need to do it by the book.' That's an odd thing to be saying on January the 5th.
"Number one, why should he have to say that to begin with? Number two, what brought on that conversation on January the 5th? They knew they were going to be out of power just in days. They sent an email trail showing the president was instructing everybody doing it by the book. And when you look at what happened, it was an abuse of power not by the book. So this is really odd."
Graham also wondered, "What did Comey say when the president allegedly told him, 'I want you to do it by the book?' Do you think Comey mentioned to the president that the chief source of information regarding a FISA warrant on Carter Page came from a paid operative of the Democratic party, Mr. Steele who is on the payroll of Fusion GPS that was being paid by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party; that the dossier came from Russian sources, very unreliable and still hasn't been verified; that the number four guy in the FBI, Mr. Ohr's wife worked at Fusion GPS who did the research for Mr. Steele?
“Do you think he told the president any of that? This is the oddest conversation I can imagine. Why are they talking about doing things by the book on January the 5th and what did Comey say when he was told to do it by the book?"
In their letter, Grassley and Graham asked Susan Rice to answer the following questions by February 22, 2018 "so the committee may further assess the situation."
-- Did you send the email attached to this letter to yourself? Do you have any reason to dispute the timestamp of the email?
-- When did you first become aware of the FBI’s investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia?
-- When did you become aware of any surveillance activities, including FISA applications, undertaken by the FBI in conducting that investigation?
-- At the time you wrote this email to yourself, were you aware of either the October 2016 FISA application for surveillance of Carter Page or the January 2017 renewal?
-- Did anyone instruct, request, suggest, or imply that you should send yourself the aforementioned Inauguration Day email memorializing President Obama’s meeting with Mr. Comey about the Trump/Russia investigation? If so, who and why?
-- Is the account of the January 5, 2017 meeting presented in your email accurate? Did you omit any other portions of the conversation?
-- Other than that email, did you document the January 5, 2017 meeting in any way, such as contemporaneous notes or a formal memo? To the best of your knowledge, did anyone else at that meeting take notes or otherwise memorialize the meeting?
-- During the meeting, did Mr. Comey or Ms. Yates mention potential press coverage of the Steele dossier? If so, what did they say?
-- During the meeting, did Mr. Comey describe the status of the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele, or the basis for that status?
-- When and how did you first become aware of the allegations made by Christopher Steele?
-- When and how did you first become aware that the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded Mr. Steele’s efforts?
-- You wrote that President Obama stressed that he was “not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective.” Did President Obama ask about, initiate, or instruct anything from any other perspective relating to the FBI’s investigation?
-- Did President Obama have any other meetings with Mr. Comey, Ms. Yates, or other government officials about the FBI’s investigation of allegations of collusion between Trump associates and Russia? If so, when did these occur, who participated, and what was discussed?