The inexplicable discrepancy in Trump’s White House January 6 records
Bob Woodward of the Washington Post and Robert Costa of CBS News report that White House documents given to the House committee on January 6 show a gap of 7 hours 37 minutes between phone calls that then-President Donald Trump , had with its allies.
The gap takes place between 11:17 a.m. and 6:54 p.m., covering almost the entire insurgency at the U.S. Capitol, which broke through at 2:11 p.m. on January 6, 2021. Other Trump actions are recorded during of this period. , including an hour-plus speech he gave at a rally that preceded the insurrection, and some of his movements inside the White House. But vast stretches of time are not taken into account.
Why is it inexplicable? Because the documents show that Trump is working rather feverishly on phones practically at all other times. He spoke with at least eight people that morning, in the lead up to the seven-plus-hour gap, and he spoke with at least 11 people afterward. He also repeatedly requested calls and received messages from the White House switchboard.
Perhaps most importantly, we to know the papers miss at least four calls — and important calls, at that — that have gone public in the year since Jan. 6.
The documents appear to exclude calls Trump had with then-Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and the Minority Leader at the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). We already know that the last two calls happened in this space, and the others seem to as well.
Trump also requested a number of calls with people for whom the calls never entered the logs. Among those people: Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who led efforts to prevent Congress from finalizing Trump’s ousting, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who, according to an assistant, refused to take the call.
And the last call recorded before the gap – at 11:17 a.m. – lists the other party to the call only as an “unidentified person”. This is the only such call listed, and for some reason it is in Trump’s daily log but not in the call log (like the other calls are). Previously released White House records suggest the call was with Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.)but for some reason the details are not saved.
Below is a timeline of what we know, based on White House documents (both the Call Log and the Daily Log) and other key events in the public record (in italic), as well as missing and incomplete call information (in bold).
For brevity, we exclude most requests for calls that were quickly recorded as having occurred, while retaining requests for other calls that were not recorded or did not occur for several time.
- 8:34 a.m. — Kurt Olsen
- 8:37 a.m. — Stephen K. Bannon
- 8:45 am — Rudy Giuliani
- 8:56 a.m. – Asks White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
- 9:02 a.m. – Requests to Vice President Mike Pence
- 9:16 a.m. — Demands for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (a call an aide says the senator declined)
- 9:24 a.m. — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
- 9:39 a.m. – Asks Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)
- 9:41 am — Giuliani
- 9:52 a.m.—Stephen Miller
- 10:32 am — Nick Luna
- 10:45 a.m. – William Bennett
- 11:04 a.m. — Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.)
- 11:11 a.m. — Meeting with his children and advisers
- 11:17 a.m. — Call with “unidentified person” who seems to be Loefflerbased on handwritten notes in another White House document (no end time is recorded and the call is not recorded in the call log at all)
- Late in the morning/apparently 11:20 a.m. — Pence (during which Trump allegedly told him, “Mike, you can do this. I’m counting on you to do this. If you don’t, I picked the wrong person four years ago.” is described as 11:20 a.m. in the same document containing Loeffler’s appeal.)
- 11:38 a.m. — Departure for the “Stop the Steal” rally
- 12:00-1:17 p.m. — Speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally
- 1:19 p.m. – Return to the White House
- 1:21 p.m. — Meet the valet
- 2:11 p.m. — The Capitol is pierced
- 2:13 p.m. — Pence escorted from the Senate Chamber
- ??? — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). (McCarthy said he was “the first person to contact [Trump] when the riot was taking place.” Trump reportedly told McCarthy, “Well, Kevin, I guess those people are more upset about the election than you are.”
- 2:24 p.m. — Trump tweets against Pence
- 2:26 p.m. — By mistake calls Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) looking for Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). Lee hands the phone to Tuberville.
- ??? — At least one more call with Jordan. (Jordan confirmed he spoke with Trump several times That day. Politico reported that this call took place early in the insurgency and featured Jordan and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida asking Trump to recall his supporters.)
- 4:03-4:07 p.m. — Record message to Rose Garden supporters
- 6:54 p.m. — Dan Scavino requests
- 7:01 p.m. — Pat Cipollone
- 7:08 p.m. — Scavino
- 7:16 p.m. — Briefed on calls waiting for five people: Olsen, Mark Martin, Cleta Mitchell, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and Hawley. Trump is asking for calls from Olsen, Martin and Mitchell.
- 7:17 p.m. — Olsen
- 7:30 p.m. — Marc Martin
- 7:40 p.m. — Olsen
- 7:53 p.m. — Mitchell
- 8:39 p.m. — Giuliani
- 9:23 a.m. — Jason Miller
- 9:42 p.m. — Kayleigh McEnany
- 9:55 p.m. — Scavino
- 10:11 p.m. — Meadows
- 10:19 p.m. — Bannon
- 10:50 p.m. — Eric Herschmann
- 11:08 p.m. – Sean Hannity, Fox News host
- 11:23 p.m.—John McEntee
There is no doubt that information is missing. The question is how much and why. Were people caught in the moment and not registering things after the insurgency started? It seems possible, but these times certainly seem to require extra care in recording Trump’s actions. And the gaps predated the insurgency, as indicated by the missing information on the apparent Pence and Loeffler appeals.
The 11:17 call is particularly interesting. Not only is the other party not identified (unlike other calls), they also don’t have an end time (unlike other calls), and they don’t show up in the call log ( unlike other calls). You could then certainly argue that the gap extends to nearly eight hours, between Trump’s calls with Perdue at 11:04 a.m. and his request for Scavino at 6:54 p.m.
But also consider this: This call, followed by Pence’s call, would have been listed on the next page of recordings, had there been such a recording. The gap narrows somewhat with the last recorded call – with Perdue at 11:04 a.m. – at the end of one page, and the next one – Scavino’s request at 6:54 p.m. – at the top of the next page.
It is not yet clear whether this gap is truly Nixonian. But it certainly raises all sorts of questions about whether people deliberately shielded Trump’s actions on January 6.
A previous version of this message incorrectly stated that then-Vice President Mike Pence was escorted out of the House chamber on January 6, 2021. He was escorted out of the Senate chamber. This message has been corrected.
This post has been updated.