- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2022

Members of the House Jan. 6 committee are keeping alive suspicion about an eight-hour gap in former President Donald Trump’s White House call logs despite reports that it wasn’t out of the ordinary.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat on the committee, said Friday that he wasn’t convinced the call-log gap was routine and not evidence of a coverup.

“I don’t know that we have any definitive answer on that,” Mr. Raskin said. “I’ve certainly never encountered it before.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat on the committee, also didn’t want to douse speculation of a coverup.

“All I can say is that we know that phone calls were made and they weren’t logged,” she said.

Washington was abuzz after the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said it identified the gap in official White House phone call logs for the day of the riot. The leak from the committee fueled speculation that Mr. Trump sought to keep his communications hidden during the attack on the Capitol.

However, multiple sources familiar with Mr. Trump’s phone behavior and the White House switchboard records told CNN that the more likely explanation is far less nefarious.

The experts said Mr. Trump placed calls through the White House switchboard while he was in the residence but rarely did so while he was elsewhere. The fact that the call logs do not show calls from the Oval Office on Jan. 6, 2021, is not unusual, they said.

The sources also said the six pages of White House switchboard records for Jan. 6, 2021, are complete “based on an official review of White House records.”

The committee leaked to news outlets earlier this week that it discovered the gap in the phone log records, which extended from approximately 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., among official White House records that have been turned over by the National Archives.

The committee has also issued requests for separate phone records and has spoken to more than 800 witnesses.

It has obtained thousands of texts from then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, some of which the panel has released publicly.

Mr. Trump is known to have placed calls and sent text messages, including to Vice President Mike Pence, during the gap in official White House phone records.

After the identification of the gap, some had speculated that Mr. Trump had used a “burner phone” to avoid tracing, which Mr. Trump has denied.

“I have no idea what a burner phone is. To the best of my knowledge, I have never even heard the term,” Mr. Trump told several news outlets in a statement last Monday.

And according to the sources who spoke with CNN, the gap in records more likely stems from the 1960s-era system for recording the president’s phone communications rather than a nefarious plot to usurp investigators.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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