Susan Rice declines invitation to testify before Senate Judiciary panel

Her lawyer said that Rice believed the testimony request was not bipartisan.

May 3, 2017, 6:41 PM

— -- President Barack Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice said she will not testify before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee chaired by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, because, her lawyer said, the request was not bipartisan in nature.

In a letter to Graham and the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, Rice’s lawyer Kathryn Ruemmler, former counsel to Obama, said Rice is ready to help congressional inquiries into Russian election interference as long as the investigations are bipartisan.

But Ruemmler noted that Whitehouse wrote a letter to Rice’s team saying that he did not sign on to Sen. Graham’s invitation to Rice, which they called "a significant departure from the bipartisan invitations extended to other witnesses."

"Under these circumstances, Ambassador Rice respectfully declines Senator Graham’s invitation to testify," the letter continues.

Graham said he wanted Rice to testify at next week's hearing along with former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Ruemmler said Rice also had concerns about how rare it is for former senior advisers to the president to testify before Congress and about how Graham had given her less than two weeks to respond to the invitation, but that she would have been willing to overlook those concerns had the invitation been approved by both Graham and Whitehouse.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events