The ongoing investigation of Jan 6. Capitol attack reveals a gap in Trump’s phone logs for seven hours and 37 minutes, including the time when the Capitol was being violently attacked.
These reports were according to documents obtained by CBS News and The Washington Post. The records are 11 pages, consisting of Trump’s official daily diary, and the White House switchboard call log.
The gap spans from 11:17 am to 6:54 pm, reports say that there were no official White House calls placed by or to Trump during that period, therefore resulting in the House panel having no records of any calls made by Trump during the assault. The record says that Trump was active on call for part of the day, conversing with at least 8 people in the morning and 11 in the evening. The gap’s disparity stands out, since there have been public reports about phone conversations Trump has had with allies during the undocumented period.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the House Panel and Democrat of Mississippi, told CBS News on Tuesday, “Obviously, there is not a second in the day that the president of the United States is not on record somewhere,”. In addition, he also said the committee would see “if we can piece it together. Having a record of what the president was doing on that day is absolutely vital to the work of the committee”
With this, the House panel is now probing about Trump’s communications throughout the day through backchannels, whether burner phones or phones of aides were used. The records also show ex-White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who said on Jan 5. podcast that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow”, communicated twice with Trump on Jan 6.
And then on Monday, Trump said this obviously believable statement, “I have no idea what a burner phone is, to the best of my knowledge I have never even heard the term.”
His believable statement was contradicted by his former national security adviser, John Bolton who said in an interview on Tuesday, after the CBS News and Washington Post reports were published, that he remembers Trump using the term “burner phones” in several discussions and that Trump knows the terminology. In addition, he also said that he and Trump have previously spoken about how people have used burner phones to avoid their calls to undergo scrutiny.
Liz Harrington, a spokesperson for Trump’s office, told USA Today that Trump “had nothing to do with the records, and assumed any and all of his phone calls were recorded and preserved.” Harrington repeated the same message from Trump’s statement, and insisted he had “no idea what a burner phone is.”
Rolling Stone reported in November some of the “Stop the Steal” rally organizers that preceded the Capitol attack used burner phones for their “high” level conversation with Trump’s team, including Trump’s family and ex Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Rolling Stone also reported that Meadows was an important part in orchestrating Trump’s supporters, who marched into the Capitol while making “it look like they went down there on their own.”
It’s still unclear as to how much Trump was involved in the planning of the Capitol attack, but it’s been extensively reported that he was on the phone during the attack, to several members of Congress- those conversations are still unclear. Previous reports indicated that Trump accidentally called Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), when he meant to call Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), House Minority Leader Rep. Keven McCarthy (R-Calif) and Pence on Jan 6, however those calls are not recorded on the call logs.