Update: Trump's Undocumented January 6th Phone Calls

Bridget Mulroy

On January 6th, 2021 at 2:26 pm, former President Trump made a phone call from the White House to Republican Senator Mike Lee, & deleted it.(Markus Spiske/iStock)

Edited with Updated Developments:

Despite a shift in global focus from a pandemic to a potential world war, Washington Post and CBS brought the attention right back to former President Donald Trump and his previous administration. With the most recent discoveries made by the committee investigating the Capitol Riot, Trump and his aforementioned administration have been catching a lot of heat.

According to Trump's former aides who testified before the House select committee chosen to investigate the Capitol attack [cited from CNN,] Trump typically "placed calls through the switchboard when he was in the residence but rarely used it when he was in the Oval Office." 

"The eleven pages of records, which consist of the president's official daily diary and the White House switchboard call log, were turned over by the National Archives earlier this year to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack," CBS explains the records currently under speculation.

The call records show a time gap in the call logs totaling to be just over seven and a half hours long; the time during with the nation's Capitol building was under duress. "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 January 6, 2021, means there is no record of the calls made by Trump as his supporters descended on the U.S. Capitol," outlined by CBS.

Chairman of the January 6th House select committee, Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, says the entire situation is, "concerning." He has a hard time believing that the President of the United States could be off the grid for so long, especially during such a critical moment in time. 

"Obviously, there is not a second in the day that the president of the United States is not on record somewhere," Thompson said in a statement to CBS.

The records currently show Trump was active on the phone for part of that day having had conversations with nineteen people. The committee is now considering the possibility of Trump having used other channels [like a "burner phone,"] to communicate outside of the White House switchboard, as well as if they received the completed log from the day the Capitol Riot transpired. 

Despite these allegations, Trump said in a statement on Monday, "I have no idea what a burner phone is, to the best of my knowledge I have never even heard the term."

In an interview the following day, former national security advisor John Bolton came forward saying he and "Trump have spoken about how people have used 'burner phones' to avoid having their calls scrutinized."

The committee may subpoena members of Congress such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Republican Congressmen Jim Jordan of Ohio, who all spoke with Trump on January 6th in an attempt to have the former President call off the rioters, according to Washington Post. The calls with these representatives should have been on the presidential call log, but weren't.

Whatever we may learn about the missing phone logs, subpoenas directed at the above-mentioned lawmakers, combined with the resistance from others, will illustrate to the world how stubborn Trump’s allies were, and still are, to help cover up an attempt at a coup.

According to The Guardian, one of the calls in question was one to Republican Senator Mike Lee. The call undoubtedly came from a phone in the White House since the caller identification used a very specific placeholder number, 202-395-0000, used only for calls coming from the White House.

The presidential call log is a comprehensive transcript of all incoming and outgoing calls involving the president. If the president is on a call using any of the White House phones, it’s to be recorded in the presidential call log. 

Simultaneously, a statute exists that mandates all records on the presidential duties to be preserved; like phone calls. Adversely to the presidential call log that is required to be kept in check, the presidential daily diary is not as strict about being kept tabs on since it is subject to change.

Officials say the only reasons a presidential phone call would not be recorded would be if the call was classified, if the call was on a personal phone [personal call,] or if the call was made from a staff member’s [or other] phone. While Trump's advisors confirmed that on some unofficial occasions, Trump did stray from the typical lines of communication, there were no such calls on the schedule for former president Donald Trump on January 6th, 2021.

It’s been confirmed [by The Guardian, Washington Post, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, and other news outlets,] that the call to Senator Lee was placed by Trump. It's suspected by the committee that the call was intentionally not recorded accurately in the presidential call log, and therefore a direct violation of the statute requiring the preservation of presidential records.

This phone call was never properly on record when the records were handed over to the committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. The call itself was recorded, however, it was not traced back to a White House phone until the recent findings were made. In other words, the placeholder number was the missing puzzle piece when the calls were reverse-traced. 

Officials are concerned the call had been omitted from the record which would mean that Trump or any of his officials tampered with records by deleting the call. The call was seen as an outgoing call, but not to who. 

The investigative committee and news sources mentioned above have confirmed after reviewing the call records and performing a reverse call trace on the call records of other government officials that the caller identification from Senator Lee’s phone was a direct match to the date and time of the undocumented phone call from the Oval Office.

Other questionable phone calls went undocumented from the time during which the Capitol Attack was taking place. The Guardian reported the call to Lee as interesting because Trump had accidentally dialed Lee’s office looking for Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville. Senator Tuberville just so happened to be next to Senator Lee, to which Senator Lee passed the phone to Senator Tuberville to relay a message to Trump about former Vice President Mike Pence having been removed from the senate chambers in the Capitol building just moments before. All of this was omitted from the original record from January 6th, 2021.

The question of how this was done remains unclear when there are multiple scribes in a president’s cabinet working in the Oval Office for this exact reason. In the event this was just a case of poor record-keeping, the method of record-keeping in the White House is being overhauled since this incident has highlighted just how many loopholes there may be in the current system. The investigation remains ongoing.

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Working formerly as a ghostwriter for a well-known New York magazine, Bridget Mulroy won two prestigious writing awards. As a writer, she takes a keen interest in topics that impact people's lives and will leave no stone unturned to share a story. Each of Bridget Mulroy's publications on the NewsBreak platform explores change and encourages readers to think beyond the limitations of the world they thought they knew.

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