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

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaires wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2022 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaires wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2022 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate