- Anthony Zurcher
- BBC North America correspondent
The official White House phone records on January 6, 2021 showed a gap in then-US President Donald Trump’s phone activities of seven hours and 37 minutes.
Coinciding with this gap, the Capitol Building (Congress) was attacked by Trump supporters.
A bipartisan congressional committee of inquiry fought a protracted battle to gain access to presidential phone records to gain insight into the activities of the president and his aides that day.
Records showed the president had calls with at least eight people that morning — including former White House adviser Steve Bannon and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who were coordinating attempts to reverse President Trump’s defeat, according to recordings obtained by The Washington Post and CNN. BBC News, the BBC’s media partner in the United States.
The records also recorded calls made with 11 people in the evening. But it did not document any calls during the period from 11:17 am to 18:45 pm, according to US local time.
This contrasts with testimony from several members of the Republican Party in Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, as well as Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama – who said they had telephoned President Trump after the middle of that. Today.
The records also did not record a trace of a call indicated by reports between Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, in which the latter confirmed his rejection of Trump’s demands to delay acknowledgment of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential elections.
This gap in the record of White House phone activity on that day may indicate that President Trump may have made calls through informal channels — for example, on the phone of one of his advisers or via a prepaid mobile phone.
This gap also points to the possibility of concealing or disposing of records of presidential calls that occurred during crucial moments when the Capitol Security Police clashed with Trump supporters.
If the latter is true, it could entail charges of cover-up reminiscent of an incident unearthed in 1973 in the so-called Watergate investigation, when a congressional inquiry discovered a missing 18-and-a-half minute audiotape of the Oval Office.
The presidency was accused of involvement in a criminal conspiracy, and Richard Nixon ended up resigning the following year.