Reports indicate that the House committee looking into the January 6 uprising at the US Capitol is investigating a “possible cover-up” of White House records centred on Donald Trump’s phone logs from that fateful day, which show a gap of seven hours and 37 minutes covering the period when the violence was unfolding.
Trump’s Missing Phone Records
On November 17 at 11:17 a.m., Trump “spoke on a phone call to an unidentified person,” according to the records. Trump then asked the White House switchboard to call his communications chief, Dan Scavino, at 6:54 p.m., 457 minutes later.
Between these two events, Trump rallied his supporters on the Ellipse, urging them to “fight like hell,” and hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, forcing Vice President Mike Pence to go into hiding while he oversaw the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
Seven deaths were linked to the incident in a bicameral Senate inquiry. One hundred and more police officers were hurt.
Bob Woodward of the Washington Post gained his fame, along with Carl Bernstein, by breaking the story of Watergate and bringing down a president, Richard Nixon.
In a historical echo, Woodward reported the probe by the January 6 committee of a probable cover-up. Robert Costa, co-author of Peril, a book on the end of the Trump presidency published last year, was Woodward’s journalism partner at the time.
They informed the January 6 committee that the “strong attention” of its members was piqued by the significant interval between call logs. Apparently, they are looking into a “potential cover-up,” as one member of the panel was quoted as saying.
Seven Democrats and two Republicans, Wyoming’s Liz Cheney and Illinois’s Adam Kinzinger, are participating in the January 6 committee in defiance of party leadership.
Woodward and Costa report that the committee is investigating whether or not Trump evaded presidential telephone accountability in any way. Using “burner” or one-time-use phones is a plausible explanation.
Trump said in a statement that rumours were completely false.
He stated, “I have never even heard the word “burner phone,” so I have no idea what it is.”
A major source of tension between Trump and the House committee has been the release of material related to the events of January 6. The former president illegally removed boxes of sensitive documents from the White House, and the National Archives revealed their discovery last month.
The committee was only given access to the phone records containing the six-hour conversation earlier this year, after Trump had a request to prevent the release of the records rejected by the US Supreme Court.
Commentators couldn’t resist comparing Trump’s disappearing phone records to Nixon’s Watergate cover-up, another scandal that was illuminated by Woodward’s investigation.
In an editorial for the conservative, anti-Trump website The Bulwark, Bill Kristol drew parallels between the statements of both presidents, saying, “‘I have never obstructed justice…'” I’m not a bad person; trust me. Nixon, Richard M., November 17th, 1973. I’m not familiar with the term “burner phone.” Dated: March 29, 2022 / Donald J. Trump
Several individuals have pointed out that the gap between Trump’s and Nixon’s phone logs is much larger than the famed 18 and a half minutes missing from tapes of conversations between Nixon and his chief of staff, HR Haldeman.
The Nixon recordings that went missing were recorded on June 20th, 1972, three days after the Watergate break-in.
Trump’s silence “makes the iconic 18-minute break in Nixon’s tapes look like nothing in contrast,” tweeted constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe.
Trump is under significant pressure as a result of his conduct on January 6. Early this month, the committee presented evidence that the outgoing president had broken many laws in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election and remain in office.
A federal court said last week that it appeared Trump had committed many felonies in his pursuit of the “big falsehood” that the election was stolen.
Hundreds of emails belonging to John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who advised Trump on how to delay certification of Biden’s victory, were ordered turned over to the January 6 committee by Judge David Carter.