Hidden Trump Phone Call On Jan. 6 Found By Investigators

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According to a new report from The Guardian, “Donald Trump used an official White House phone to place at least one call during the Capitol attack on January 6 last year that should have been reflected in the internal presidential call log from that day but was not, according to two sources familiar with the matter.” Separate reporting recently revealed a gap of over seven hours in official White House records of the calls that then-President Donald Trump made on the day of the Capitol attack, and — suspiciously enough — the gap covered the time when the bulk of the violence took place. The call reported on by The Guardian was to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and it’s previously been revealed, but The Guardian shared new details about a dubious veil of de facto secrecy around it.

As explained by The Guardian in bringing the detail to light that Trump used an official White House phone for the call to Lee, the “origin of the call as coming from an official White House phone, which has not been previously reported, raises the prospect of tampering or deletion [in the official call records] by Trump White House officials.” That earlier reporting about the seven-hour gap in official records of some of Trump’s January 6 communications led investigators on the House committee looking into the Capitol riot to wonder about whether Trump used alternate devices for calls he’s known to have made — and whether they’d received appropriately complete records from that day. The Trump team has already been caught flouting the federal law known as the Presidential Records Act through means including the repeated destruction of covered documents by Trump and the transfer of over a dozen boxes of official records from D.C. to Florida after Trump left office, and for the Lee call to be missing from White House records presents another potential violation.

Entries on the official logs of presidential calls are not up to whether or not officials feel like including them — all presidential calls involving the White House are supposed to get noted in the records. The call Trump made to Lee was placed in error — the then-president was trying to get in touch with then-newly elected Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. Tuberville apparently informed Trump that then-Vice President Mike Pence had been escorted from the Senate chamber, where members of Congress had been dealing with objections to the presidential election outcome from Trump allies.

According to The Guardian’s reporting, the conversation began at around 2:26 p.m. — meaning that nearly two hours before Trump released a video message in which he kind of, sort of pushed back on violence at the Capitol, he knew that Pence was facing the threat of physical danger. Before that video message, Trump did post a tweet in which he asked rioters to “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” — which is remarkably tepid. The concepts of “support” and staying “peaceful” are vague and could, in theory, easily be taken by some of the rioters to support their actions. In another tweet, Trump added: “No violence!” — but his heart clearly wasn’t in it, because later that day, he tried to excuse it all by saying that “these are the things and events that happen” when an election is stolen, which obviously didn’t actually occur.