Former national security adviser Susan Rice slammed President Donald Trump for storing the notes from his phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on a top-secret server — then admitted the Obama administration stored communications on the same server.
Speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival, Rice tore into the Trump administration for "unprecedented" actions, claiming officials have attempted to "bury" information.
"What [the Trump administration] did instead of storing it in the normal system, which is protected and classified, even though there was no classified substance in that actual discussion," Rice said. "Instead of putting it where it normally resides, they hid it on a very highly sensitive, highly compartmented server that very few people in the U.S. government have access to in order to bury it."
Then Rice was asked by the moderator how often the Obama administration did what she is criticizing the Trump administration for doing.
"We never moved them over unless they were legitimately, in the contents, classified," she admitted
Despite admitting the phone conversation transcript was not a verbatim transcript — therefore acknowledging the exact contents of the call have not been publicized — Rice claimed the conversation between Trump and Zelensky did not meet the standard to be stored on the top-secret server.
"It's rare that a presidential conversation would be classified to that highest level — it's not impossible, it's very rare — even when two leaders are discussing classified information," she said. "Here's a case where there was nothing classified and it was moved to the most secure, sensitive server."
.@AmbassadorRice: “Normally there is a full, verbatim transcript” of calls like Trump’s w/ the Ukraine president.… https://t.co/oOsvOJw7Oa— Tom Elliott (@Tom Elliott)1569620217.0
However, ABC News reported the White House has stored conversations between Trump and foreign leaders on secure servers since 2017. A source who spoke to ABC News called the practice "basically standard operating procedure."
The White House reportedly began storing the conversations on secured servers after two calls — one between Trump and the leader of Mexico and another between Trump and the leader of Australia — were leaked in 2017.