A 7-Hour Gap in Jan. 6 Phone Logs Raises the Question: Did Trump Use a Burner?

He insisted he has no idea, “to the best of” his knowledge, what a burner phone even is.

Oliver Contreras/ZUMA

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The ongoing mystery over what Donald Trump was doing behind closed doors on January 6 as his supporters stormed the US Capitol now includes a glaring, seven-hour gap in the phone records of the White House logs. The Washington Post reports that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is looking at whether the former president used unofficial backchannels, including burner phones, to shield his communications from 11:17 am to 6:54 pm that day.

Trump has, of course, denied wrongdoing. But his statement to the Post appears to extend significant latitude to the notion of his innocence in the scenario that the use of burner phones was to eventually be discovered.

“I have no idea what a burner phone is, to the best of my knowledge I have never even heard the term,” he told the paper.

Well, it doesn’t take a legal genius to see that the second beat of Trump’s statement is doing a lot of work here. That’s understandable, considering Trump’s extensive history of flouting official record-keeping rules. That record includes the allegation that the former president, in order to get rid of potentially damaging documents, would rip up pieces of paper in the Oval Office—only to eat them. His own aides have also reportedly suspected him of flushing potentially compromising material down a toilet with such frequency that it routinely clogged the White House plumbing system.

Could this all be the details of a political cover-up? If so, it’s certainly one of the dumbest I’ve ever come across.

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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