House committee must leave no stone unturned on Trump’s missing Jan. 6 phone logs

What we know about the Jan. 6 insurrection is shocking enough. What we don’t know, and what those missing phone logs and other material might help us learn, could be even worse.

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Then-President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol. White House logs show a more than 7-hour gap in the president’s phone calls that day.

Then-President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol. White House logs show a more than 7-hour gap in the president’s phone calls that day.

Evan Vucci/AP Photos

On Tuesday, the news broke that White House records from Jan. 6 show a more than 7-hour gap in then-President Donald Trump’s phone calls that day, including the hours when the Capitol was under violent attack.

Who was the president talking to as a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol, busting out windows, attacking police and sending Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress into hiding for safety?

Those phone logs could have provided answers to that pressing question, giving Americans a more complete picture of exactly what happened that day when our democracy was under attack — and who helped orchestrate the events.

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Yet, as the Washington Post and CBS News first reported, records turned over earlier this year to the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 revealed a 7-hour, 37-minute gap in White House notations of calls to and from the president.

The gap stretches from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. — hours when numerous media reports have already uncovered calls from Trump to supporters, including Utah Sen. Mike Lee and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. There’s no telling, not yet at least, what other calls were made.

It’s all giving us flashbacks to Watergate and that still-mysterious 18 ½-minute gap in President Richard M. Nixon’s White House tapes.

The House select committee is now investigating whether Trump — reportedly known for using different phones — made calls using his aides’ phones or disposable “burner” phones or communicated by other means.

The committee should leave no stone unturned regarding this and every other area of its investigation.

A day before news surfaced of the missing Trump phone logs, a federal judge said that the then-president “more likely than not” committed crimes in trying to stay in power. “The illegality of the plan was obvious,” Judge David O. Carter wrote in his ruling regarding emails that lawyer John Eastman, a Trump supporter and adviser, had resisted turning over to the House select committee.

The committee is considering whether to make a criminal referral regarding Trump to the Justice Department. That seems a safe bet, given the committee’s statement in its own filing in the Eastman case: “The Select Committee also has a good-faith basis for concluding that the President and members of his Campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

What we know about the Jan. 6 insurrection is shocking enough. What we don’t know, and what those missing phone logs and other material might help us learn, could be even worse.

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