As his supporters rioted at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, former President Donald Trump made at least one phone call that has apparently disappeared from the official White House call logs, according to a new report by The Guardian—suggesting that White House records pertaining to Jan. 6 may have been tampered with.
Around 2:26 p.m. that day, Trump accidentally called U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, believing he was calling Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. The call was widely reported in the aftermath of the Capitol riot, as was a similar call Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani made to Lee on the evening of Jan. 6, also mistakenly thinking he was calling Tuberville.
Lee passed the phone to Tuberville, and during that call, Tuberville told Trump that Vice President Mike Pence had been removed from the Senate chambers for his safety as rioters stormed the Capitol.
Trump reportedly placed the call to Lee from an official White House number, but it didn’t show up in the presidential daily diary or the White House call logs, the Guardian reported.
The White House call logs have a gap of more than seven hours on Jan. 6, from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m., which includes the time during which the riot took place, CBS News and the Washington Post reported this week. Additionally, the Guardian reported, a call between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy—during which McCarthy begged Trump to call off the rioters and Trump reportedly told him that the rioters “are more upset about the election than you are”—was missing from the logs.
If the calls were somehow removed from the logs, it would likely be a violation of the President Records Act, a federal law passed in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and President Richard Nixon’s resignation.
The former president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump also recently claimed that he didn’t know what a burner phone was, in response to the CBS News and Washington Post report that the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 is looking into whether he made calls or sent texts on disposable phones or his aides’ phones that day.
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton, whose relationship with Trump has deteriorated in the last few years, told CBS News Tuesday that he had heard Trump use the term several times.
Trump’s tendency to violate his presidential record-keeping obligations was well-known during his presidency.
In January, for example, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) reportedly collected 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s time in the White House that he’d brought with him to Mar-a-Lago. In 2018, Politico reported on the plight of two federal employees whose job became taping documents back together after Trump had ripped them up into tiny pieces.
And a forthcoming book from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman reports that during Trump’s time in the White House, engineers came in multiple times to unclog Trump’s toilet, finding bits of paper which he had flushed down it. Trump has denied Haberman’s reporting.
“Another fake story, that I flushed papers and documents down a White House toilet, is categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book,” Trump said in a statement last month.
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