As the attack at the U.S. Capitol unfolded last January, President Donald Trump placed at least one call using a White House phone that should have been recorded in the day’s call log but was not, The Guardian reported Thursday.
The call was to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), although Trump had actually meant to dial Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). He spoke to both men on the call, and their brief conversation was reported in the days following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack ― but new details raise questions about the possibility of the White House tampering with official records.
Phone logs turned over to the House committee investigating the attack show a gap of seven hours and 37 minutes during the period when a mob of angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, The Washington Post and CBS reported earlier this week.
The lengthy gap raises the possibility that Trump was using his aides’ phones, or personal disposable “burner” phones, to talk to people that day. Although Trump denied even knowing what “burner phones” were in a statement to The Washington Post, former national security adviser John Bolton contradicted this claim, saying he had heard Trump talk about the benefits of using burner phones to hide conversations.
But Trump was using a White House phone when he dialed Lee, according to The Guardian, which cited two sources familiar with the matter.
When the president makes a call from a White House phone, it should generate data that is included in the presidential call log, the newspaper said, noting that the log is supposed to be a comprehensive record of all the calls involving the president that day.
If the call wasn’t included, that means someone may have intentionally violated protocol in order to shield Trump’s activities, although it is not clear exactly how they would do that.
A number of people are believed to have tried to get in touch with the president during the attack, pleading with him to do something to stop it. Precisely what Trump was doing as his supporters assaulted law enforcement and violently entered the Capitol is of particular interest to the committee ― and the public.