It was recently reported that a review of former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021 phone logs found that a seven-hour gap likely is not as eye-opening as critics hoped, CNN reported Friday.
A source told CNN that six pages of White House switchboard logs for Jan. 6 were complete based on an official review of records.
There are no missing pages, and a seven-hour gap likely was explained by use of White House landlines, White House cell phones and personal cell phones that do not go through the switchboard.
CNN reported that the seven-hour gap likely was not due to what Trump critics have alleged, that the then-president used “burner phones” — something he has denied — or that the logs were suppressed.
Multiple CNN sources also said Trump’s typical phone habits contributed to the gap. The then-president rarely placed calls through the switchboard when he was in the Oval Office — something he usually did from the White House.
Also, Axios reported that Trump executive assistant Molly Michael was absent for most of Jan. 6 for personal reasons. Keeping handwritten notes on Trump’s unscheduled meetings and calls was part of Michael’s duties, the media outlet added.
The fact the switchboard log does not show Jan. 6 calls from the Oval Office is not unusual, sources told CNN, because Trump typically had staff members either place calls directly for him on landlines or cell phones. Those calls would not be noted on the log.
Other former presidents did likewise. An ex-White House staffer told CNN that if then-President Barack Obama wanted to make a call to someone from the Oval Office, he normally would ask an aide to dial the person.
The aide would then call the number and hit transfer to connect the caller to the president. That call would not go through the White House switchboard and therefore would not be recorded on the log, the former staffer told CNN.
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Trump made several calls during the seven-hour time period, CNN said — including one from the Oval Office to then-Vice President Mike Pence — that are not noted in the presidential diary or the presidential call log.
Multiple sources, including former aides who testified before the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, have corroborated that Trump spoke with Pence.
CNN reported that the White House call log is generated by an outdated switchboard system that dates back to the early 1960s, according to the National Archives. The system is not one suited for today’s use of cell phones and text messages.
Calls also should have been documented in the Presidential Daily Diary, which is compiled by an Archives employee detailed to the White House — something dependent on the information he or she receives from the president’s staff.
Multiple sources told CNN that record-keeping during the Trump administration generally was chaotic.