White House phone logs show seven-hour gap during Capitol Hill riots

Records show no details of who Trump spoke to at key period during January 6th attack

Internal White House logs from the day of the January 6th attack last year on the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump contain a gap of more than seven hours in the official records of the former president's telephone calls.

The logs, which have been handed over to a special select committee of the US House of Representatives which is investigating the attack, show no calls placed to or by Mr Trump between 11.17am and 6.54pm.

This includes the time during which his supporters rioted at the Capitol and attacked police while members of Congress were scheduled to meet to formally certify the election victory of Joe Biden.

The 11 pages of documents, which were given to the committee by the US National Archives, and published on Tuesday by the Washington Post and CBS News, reveal Mr Trump had phone conversations with at least eight people before the seven-hour gap in the records, and with 11 people afterwards.

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The seven-hour gap in the records covers part of January 6th last year when the then president was widely reported in various books and articles to have contacted a number of allies and senior politicians by phone, including the Republican minority leader of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy and a Republican senator.

Mr McCarthy last year described talking to the former president during the riots at the Capitol.

The select committee of the House of Representatives is now investigating whether Mr Trump communicated that day through backchannels, by using the phones of aides or personal disposable “burner” phones.

The committee is also looking at whether it received the full logs from that day.

‘Possible cover-up’

One politician serving on the select committee was quoted as saying it was investigating a “possible cover-up” of the official White House record from that day.

Another person close to the committee said the large gap in the records was of “intense interest” to some members .

In a statement issued on Monday night, Mr Trump said: “I have no idea what a burner phone is, to the best of my knowledge I have never even heard the term.”

A spokeswoman for the former president said Mr Trump had nothing to do with the records and had assumed any and all of his phone calls were recorded and preserved.

The official records show former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon – who forecast on his podcast on January 5th, 2021, that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow” – spoke to Mr Trump twice on January 6th.

Separately, a federal judge said in a ruling on Monday that Mr Trump “more likely than not” committed a federal crime in trying to obstruct the congressional count of electoral college votes on January 6th, 2021. The ruling came in a case involving emails that a conservative lawyer and Trump ally had resisted turning over to the House of Representatives select committee.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent