After President Trump was accused of a cover-up for moving details about his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a separate, highly secured computer system, former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice admitted that Obama did the same thing.
The difference? Rice says that Trump's conversation didn't meet the threshold to justify that level of classification, according to The Federalist.
"We never moved them over unless they were legitimately, in the contents classified," Rice said at the Texas Tribune Festival when asked how often the Obama administration engaged in this practice - without explaining the methodology used to determine what qualified.
.@AmbassadorRice: “Normally there is a full, verbatim transcript” of calls like Trump’s w/ the Ukraine president.— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 27, 2019
Says he tried to “bury” it on a more secure server, but acknowledges the Obama Admin. sometimes did the same. pic.twitter.com/B6zZNbZsTG
Rice's revelation may soften arguments of a cover-up by the Trump administration to "lock down" the conversation.
The revelation from Rice comes amid media reports and comments from political leaders that have painted the use of this top secret server as proof that Trump was trying to cover up the contents of his conversation with the Ukrainian leader, a full transcript of which the administration has now released to the public.
While Rice admitted that the Obama administration also used this server to protect sensitive presidential phone calls, she left open the question of whether the Trump administration used the server in this particular case to save the president from damaging, perhaps even impeachable, comments he made to Zelensky regarding investigations into political rival Joe Biden. -The Federalist
What's more, The Federalist notes that "reporting from ABC News shows that this practice of securing presidential phone transcripts has been in use in the White House since early 2017, after sensitive conversations with foreign leaders were leaked to the press."
In an August 12 letter, a CIA 'whistleblower' claimed that President Trump had inappropriately pressured Zelensky to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, after the elder Biden bragged about forcing Ukraine to fire its lead prosector 'or else' $1 billion in US loan guarantees would be pulled. Moreover, Democrats have also pointed to the Trump administration pausing nearly $400 million in US military aid as a bargaining chip.
Both Trump and Zelensky have denied that there was any pressure, which was made clear when Trump released a transcript of the call in question. In addition, Zelensky had no clue the $400 million was being withheld until a month after the call, according to the New York Times' Kenneth Vogel in a Wednesday tweet.
The Ukrainians weren't made aware that the assistance was being delayed/reviewed until more than one month after the call. https://t.co/qDJ3FT261a— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) September 25, 2019
The Trump administration says the call with Zelensky was only added to the top secret server after guidance from a National Security Counsel attorney.