Perhaps we were naive in thinking that the smoking gun would be left sitting in a file in the National Archives.
White House phone logs from January 6th contain a seven-hour gap which includes the time period, during which, the Capitol itself was attacked according to the documents obtained by both the Washington Post and CBS News. It would seem that the White House which was led by a man who flushed documents down toilets was not about to leave such a precise roadmap as to what happened that day.
The lack of an official White House notation of any calls placed to or by Trump for 457 minutes on Jan. 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.
No, the Committee doesn’t have a record of the telephone conversations coming in and out of the White House but it now has a record of what prosecutors call consciousness of guilt. Proof that the people in the building who controlled what was and wasn’t logged knew that this information might be subpoenaed someday and it was critical that the information stays secret.
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.).
Yes, we have all read extensive reporting about the calls made to and from the White House during the attack. In this particular instance, it is a pity that the president is a civilian because the lack of frantic calls to and from the Pentagon and Washington DC Police, Park Police, etc. would be prima facie evidence of gross dereliction of duty. Instead, we have to assume that Trump was making calls on other people’s phones, or we have an explanation as to why all those “burner phones” were purchased, a possibility mentioned in the WaPo article. Perhaps Trump’s calls were made by untraceable numbers and will have to be documented from the other end, the people he talked to.
The article notes the seemingly obvious, some Committee members are intensely interested in the gap and the cover-up it represents. But many of us are just as interested in the calls coming in on the night of January 5th and earlier in the day on January 6th. If one wants to know how much Trump knew and planned going into the January 6th attempted coup, that person would look to records created just prior to the violence. The Committee does have some of those records:
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.
The January 5th Bannon show leaves no doubt in the viewers’ minds that he knew what was about to happen. He promised it would be like nothing his viewers think it would be and implied that it would take the use of force. “All hell will break lose tomorrow.” (See tweet below)
But ultimately, the Committee’s case against Donald Trump, whether it is ever taken up by the Department of Justice or not will depend upon what the Committee can prove Donald Trump said, whether it comes from other people on the other end of the phone or by other means.
There are records of the calls that went into and out of the White House that morning. There simply has to be. No one at this site is a specialist in national security but we’ve read enough to know that the NSA and NRO have means of surveillance that we cannot even comprehend. It only takes the will to get those records and that is up to the current president. The public should demand that record by whatever means possible. If they are important enough to cover up, it is that much more important that the American public know. The Committee needs those records.
— Grandpa Snarky – #StandWithUkraine (@GrandpaSnarky) November 14, 2021
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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