Internal White House documents handed over to a House panel investigating the January 6 Capitol attack show a gap of seven hours and 37 minutes in former President Donald Trump’s call logs from that day, raising suspicions that Trump allies are illegally concealing his phone records from lawmakers.
The Washington Post‘s Bob Woodward and CBS News’ Robert Costa reported Tuesday that “the lack of an official White House notation of any calls placed to or by Trump for 457 minutes on January 6, 2021—from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m.—means the committee has no record of his phone conversations as his supporters descended on the Capitol, battled overwhelmed police, and forcibly entered the building, prompting lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to flee for safety.”
“The 11 pages of records, which consist of the president’s official daily diary and the White House switchboard call logs, were turned over by the National Archives earlier this year to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack,” noted the news outlets, which obtained the documents.
Woodward and Costa continued:
The records show that Trump was active on the phone for part of the day, documenting conversations that he had with at least eight people in the morning and 11 people that evening. The seven-hour gap also stands in stark contrast to the extensive public reporting about phone conversations he had with allies during the attack, such as a call Trump made to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)—seeking to talk to Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.)—and a phone conversation he had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
The House panel is now investigating whether Trump communicated that day through backchannels, phones of aides or personal disposable phones, known as ‘burner phones,’ according to two people with knowledge of the probe.
One unnamed lawmaker on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack, which is working to discern Trump’s activities during the assault that he helped provoke, told the Post and CBS that the panel is probing a “possible coverup” of official White House phone records from that day.
Nixon had an 18.5 minute gap in his White House tapes.
Trump has a 7.5 hour gap in phone logs from January 6th.
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) March 29, 2022
Throughout his four-year tenure in the White House, Trump often used his personal cellphone as well as his aides’ phones to speak to allies and outside advisers, bypassing official channels of communication. The former president also had a habit of tearing up schedules, memos, and other official records, a likely violation of federal law.
In a statement to the Post and CBS late Monday before their story went to press, Trump insisted that he “no idea what a burner phone is.”
“To the best of my knowledge I have never even heard the term,” said the former president, who has attempted to obstruct the January 6 panel’s investigation at every turn.
In a federal court filing earlier this month, the select committee accused Trump and his allies of engaging in “a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States” as they attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
On Monday, a federal judge argued that Trump “more likely than not” committed felony obstruction of Congress by attempting to subvert congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.
Hours after the federal judge’s ruling, the House January 6 panel recommended that the Biden Justice Department pursue criminal contempt of Congress charges against former Trump aides Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino, both of whom have refused to comply with the committee’s investigation.
“It is good that the House January 6 Committee is taking its job very seriously and moving to refer for contempt charges those who won’t cooperate with subpoenas,” said Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “Investigating an insurrection is deadly serious, and the Justice Department and all of us should be treating it so.”
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