Jan. 6 Committee Minds The Gap In Trump's Coup-Related Phone Logs
The House January 6 Select Committee has been eager to learn what Donald Trump was up to during the attack he incited against the Capitol. The Trump team kicked and screamed, but the National Archives eventually released 11 pages of records, which included the White House switchboard call log and the president’s official daily diary, presumably with the entry “January 6: Thank God for the rain that will wash away democracy.”
However, the internal White House records from January 6 that were turned over to the Select Committee reveal a significant gap in Trump’s phone logs. This is no paltry 18 and a half minute gap in the Watergate tapes. We’re talking a whopping seven hours and 37 minutes — enough time for at least one screening of The Batman.
The lack of an official White House notation of any calls placed to or by Trump for 457 minutes — from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. — on Jan. 6, 2021 means there is no record of the calls made by Trump as his supporters descended on the U.S. Capitol, battled overwhelmed police and forcibly entered the building, prompting lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to flee for safety.
Well, that’s peculiar. We’re sure Trump was on the phone, actively working to defend the seat of government and members of Congress from a violent insurrection. Just kidding! What we do know from extensive public reporting is that Trump was on the phone during the attack with his flunkies at the Capitol. He asked Senator Tommy Tuberville to delay certification of Biden’s win, which was most likely a crime, and dismissed pleas from GOP leader Kevin McCarthy to call off his mob.
Now the January 6 committee is looking into whether Trump communicated during the attack he incited through backchannels, phones of aides, or personal disposable phones ("burner phones”), like the common gangster he is. Trump released a statement Monday claiming: "I have no idea what a burner phone is, to the best of my knowledge I have never even heard the term.” Your aunt who watched "Breaking Bad" knows what a “burner phone” is.
Dig this line from the Post article: "The committee is also scrutinizing whether it received the full logs from that day.” What’s to scrutinize, guys? They obviously didn’t receive the full logs. As noted thinker Fred G. Sanford once said, they’ve been "conned, robbed, and ripped off.”
The records show that Trump was active on the phone during the morning and later that evening, so Trump shifting to "Mission: Impossible" communication technology during a violent insurrection is suspicious and arguably reveals consciousness of guilt. He was going out of his way to cover his tracks.
Another January 6 committee member said the panel is investigating a “possible coverup.” Another member suggested that the large gap in the records is of “intense interest” to some of them.
The records show that former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon – who said on his Jan. 5 podcast that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow” – spoke with Trump twice on Jan. 6. In a call that morning, Bannon urged Trump to continue to pressure Pence to block congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, according to people familiar with the exchange.
This was active coordination of a crime, and the Capitol attack almost helped them succeed. It pains us to say anything remotely positive about Mike Pence but if he’d fled for his life that day when he had the chance, this would’ve achieved the goal of delaying certification. The Trump team with special guest villain Ginni Thomas was desperate to overturn the election.
More previously too again: Ginni Thomas Texts to Mark Meadows Indicate She Is Several Fries Short Of Happy Meal
The phone logs don’t include Trump’s final call with Pence, which multiple people confirm occurred sometime in the late morning. According to the book Peril, Pence told Trump, "When I go to the Capitol, I’ll do my job.” This pissed off Trump, who’d hired Pence specifically for "emergency break glass" couping. After the call, Trump headed to the “Save America” rally, where he whipped up a mob against his vice president.
The Presidential Records Act requires "the preservation of memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes and other written communications related to a president’s official duties.” The period when the Capitol was under attack shouldn’t have been presidential down time. However, none of Trump’s actions on January 6 were in service of the nation or democracy.
So, this is all very damning, and the idea that Trump’s still free to possibly run again for president makes you want to slap someone (metaphorically speaking).
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."