On that tragic blustery winter day, Donald Trump ginned up his followers with hostile fighting words, aimed them at our hallowed Capitol Building, and fired. He did not lead them there, as he said he would. Instead, he went back to the White House and watched the show he had orchestrated in real-time. White House activity logs showed a cluster of calls, which were pelting our capitol like a frantic rain pushed back and forth by a very ill wind.
As all this was happening, the president’s top people, including those in his Department of Justice (DOJ) were sending calls back and forth. One call was between the Acting Attorney General (AG) Jeff Rosen and former Vice President Mike Pence. Then a while later, there was one from the main number of the White House.
The nonprofit American Oversight filed a lawsuit to obtain the White House logs, which are public records, and discovered a rush of calls between the DOJ and the leaders of Congress, police, and top military people.
The call from the White House line did not happen until almost 4 pm that afternoon on January 6. The suit also obtained Acting AG Rosen’s handwritten notes, which filled in missing blocks on that terrible day.
They proved that Rosen had talked to Pence two times, although the calls on January were not timed. That meant we did not know whether they talked during the attack. The same was true with the AG’s list of calls showing “SecDef et al.” The calls around the House and Senate were similarly untimed.
So what do we know? Somewhere between 3:10 pm and 3:30 pm a couple of redacted numbers occurred. This was at the time when the insurrectionists were inside of the Capitol, roaming its halls in search of the vice president to “hang Mike Pence.” They were also trying to track down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and hunting for the rest of the legislators. This was also during the same time as when insurrectionists Ashli Babbitt broke into the innermost door to the Speaker’s Lobby. Police warned her. They shot her. And nothing was ever the same again.
The attorney general also fielded frequent calls spread throughout the day with the previous White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, the Acting U.S. Attorney with the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin, and Cipollone’s Deputy Richard Donoghue.
We do know that Rosen did not receive a White House call until 4:30 pm. The attorney general also talked with the White House counsel much later that night, at 10:30 pm.
Donoghue’s call logs showed that he called Cipollone and the top people at the Department of Homeland Security. The White House called Donoghue at about 3:45 and again at 6:00 pm.
Just one day after American Oversight obtained the call logs, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington delivered its document proving that the DOJ had considered briefing the legislators on the dangers surrounding January 6. Plus the department considered putting out a statement. It would have warned of possible “unrest.”
At this time, we do not know why neither happened.
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