Denver Riggleman, a former staffer for the House committee investigating January 6 who left his work for the panel in April after conducting investigations of data for the probe, said during a new 60 Minutes interview there was a call connecting the White House switchboard with a member of the riot crowd on January 6.
“You get a real ‘a-ha’ moment when you see that the White House switchboard had connected to a rioter’s phone while it’s happening,” Riggleman said. “That’s a big, pretty big ‘a-ha’ moment.” Riggleman seemed to indicate he knew who received the call but not who placed it. “The American people need to know that there are link connections that need to be explored more,” Riggleman, who’s a former GOP Congressman, added. The existence of the call is newly available information. During weeks of public hearings conducted after Riggleman left, the panel didn’t mention it — although investigators are restarting public hearings next week and preparing for a final report. “From my perspective, being in counterterrorism, if the White House, even if it’s a short call, and it’s a connected call — who is actually making that phone call?” Riggleman added. He also questioned the idea that there is an innocuous explanation for the call.
The news previously emerged that Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the extremist group the Oath Keepers, was allegedly in contact with someone with at least the appearance of direct access to Trump on January 6 after the riot. Rhodes is now facing criminal charges including seditious conspiracy, and it remains publicly unclear who was on the call, with prosecutors keeping any info about their identity concealed. However, according to a member of Rhodes’s group who said he was present, Rhodes pushed whoever was on the call to get a message to Trump, meaning some combination of circumstances — presumably, proximity to the then-commander-in-chief — made Rhodes think such was possible. Rhodes wanted right-wing militia members used in the invocation of the Insurrection Act, a portion of U.S. law allowing presidents to assemble such forces. On the call, Rhodes also wanted to personally talk with Trump, meaning the person to whom he was speaking held a position making Rhodes think that was possible. (That all assumes it happened.)