Donald Trump’s number is up, according to the Chair of the House January 6 Select Committee, Bennie Thompson’s (D-MS) investigators. When The Guardian asked the bipartisan Select Committee chair whether the Select Committee would investigate Trump’s calls, he responded without hesitation:
Thompson said the Select Committee’s investigators would probe the ex-president’s phone records. He also said these calls were particularly vital in proving that the former president had tried to overthrow our government, especially his calls to the team at the Willard Hotel on January 5. They were all seeking ways to block President Joe Biden from becoming certified as president.
In its own investigation, The Guardian indicated that Trump’s closest advisers went to a group of rooms at the Willard Hotel in D.C. The hotel is located almost next to the White House. Trump had called his aides there and said that his Vice President Mike Pence was dragging his feet about recertifying 45 instead 46.
Trump did call the Willard Hotel team from the White House personal quarters and the West Wing well into the night on January 5. He was trying to figure out how to halt Biden from becoming certified on January 6. The Willard Hotel group included John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn, Rudy Giuliani, and strategist Steve Bannon.
The Select Committee was unable to request the National Archives for the detailed information on the records, but:
‘[I]f we say we want all White House calls made on January 5 and 6, if he made it on a White House phone, then obviously we would look at it there.’
The Committee Chair added:
‘If we get the information that we requested, those calls potentially will be reflected to the Willard Hotel and whomever.’
Trump’s then-personal attorney Rudy Giuliani might try to escape his subpoena by claiming attorney-client privilege. One of the Select Committee’s members, Representative Jamie Raskin (D-ML), said that protection was not the same as total immunity:
‘The attorney-client privilege does not operate to shield participants in a crime from an investigation into a crime. If it did, then all you would have to do to rob a bank is bring a lawyer with you, and be asking for advice along the way.’
The Select Committee had issued a number of subpoenas, many going to the group in the Willard Hotel. Bannon went to prison trying to avoid outing Trump. But Thompson said that his Select Committee was seeking not only the phone numbers but the actual content of those calls.
Trump’s spokesperson Taylor Budowich announced she was suing the Select Committee by claiming that those phone records were privileged, according to MSNBC News.
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