Who, exactly, was Donald Trump talking to while the U.S. Capitol was under attack by his supporters on Jan. 6? Did he call Ginni Thomas on a burner phone in the West Wing or Steve Bannon on a secure line in the residence?
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6. riot would like answers to those questions after it was revealed that parts of Trump’s White House phone logs, which are supposed to be maintained for posterity and reference in just such a moment, have somehow gone missing.
From The Washington Post
Internal White House records from the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol that were turned over to the House select committee show a gap in President Donald Trump’s phone logs of seven hours and 37 minutes, including the period when the building was being violently assaulted, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News.
The lack of an official White House notation of any calls placed to or by Trump for 457 minutes on Jan. 6, 2021 – from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. – means the committee has no record of his phone conversations as his supporters descended on the Capitol, battled overwhelmed police and forcibly entered the building, prompting lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to flee for safety.
The revelations come as a chorus of voices at various levels inside the judicial system profess a belief that Trump and associates likely committed crimes either in their business dealings, related to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, or both.
This week, federal judge David O. Carter said it was more likely than not that Trump had committed a crime. Carter made the statement in ordering one of Trump’s lawyers, John Eastman, to turn over a trove of emails to the committee, which is led by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), according to NBC News.
From NBC News
“Every American — and certainly the president of the United States — knows that in a democracy, leaders are elected, not installed. With a plan this ‘BOLD,’ President Trump knowingly tried to subvert this fundamental principle. Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” Carter wrote, ordering e-mails that Eastman wrote furthering the plan to be turned over to the Jan. 6 committee…
Carter’s ruling was in a civil case, where the burden of proof is less than a criminal case.
“The court is tasked only with deciding a dispute over a handful of emails,” he wrote. “This is not a criminal prosecution; this is not even a civil liability suit. At most, this case is a warning about the dangers of ‘legal theories’ gone wrong, the powerful abusing public platforms, and desperation to win at all costs. If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution.”
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It was at least the third time recently that a judge or prosecutor investigating Trump’s conduct or business practices has said publicly that they believe he’s guilty and that there’s enough evidence to prove it.
Last week, the resignation letter of one of two former Manhattan prosecutors who quit after their boss, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg all but shut down their criminal probe into Trump’s businesses, became public. The letter said that Bragg was wrong to halt progress on the investigation and that prosecutors believed Trump unequivocally could not only been charged, but convicted.
Lawyers for the Thompson’s Jan. 6 committee said in a court filing in the Eastman case that they believed Trump and his allies had committed at least two crimes: conspiracy to to defraud the United States and obstructing an official congressional proceeding, according to the Washington Post.
Trump still faces a civil investigation being led by U.S. Attorney Letitia James in New York. James said in January that she had strong evidence that Trump and others in his company had committed fraud, although under her probe, he can be sued but not criminally charged. And then there’s a criminal investigation run by Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney Fani Willis. All three prosecutors–James, Willis and Bragg, and Thompson, the House Jan. 6 committee chairman, are Black.