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CNN Debunks Conspiracies About Trump's January 6th Call Log

Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

There was much mainstream media mayhem and Twitter conspiracy conjuring this week over what President Trump was doing on January 6th, 2021 during a reported 7-hour gap in the official White House switchboard call logs. Those records came to light after they were turned over to the House's select committee that is apparently insistent on dragging out their investigation of January 6th until the midterm elections. 

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The duo of Bob Woodward and Robert Costa magically obtained the records and ran a front page story in The Washington Post that sought to breathe life into a theory that the full record was being withheld or that Trump sought to obscure his calls on January 6th.

But it turns out all of that noise was over... nothing — according to CNN.

Their story Friday morning announced "Official review of Trump phone logs from January 6 finds record is complete." While mainstream pundits and Democrats (but I repeat myself) speculated that President Trump was using burner phones or engaged in a cover up, it turns out there was actually nothing out of the ordinary in the White House switchboard call log for January 6th. 

CNN explains:

According to multiple sources familiar with Trump’s phone behavior and the White House switchboard records, the January 6 log reflects Trump’s typical phone habits. He mainly placed calls through the switchboard when he was in the residence but rarely used it when he was in the Oval Office. The fact the log does not show calls on January 6, 2021, from the Oval Office is not unusual, said the sources, because Trump typically had staff either place calls directly for him on landlines or cell phones. Those calls would not be noted on the switchboard log.

The six pages of White House switchboard logs for January 6, 2021, are complete based on an official review of White House records, according to a source familiar with the matter. There are no missing pages and the seven-hour gap is likely explained by use of White House landlines, White House cell phones and personal cell phones that do not go through the switchboard.

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So yet another "smoking gun" used to assert wrongdoing turns out to be less than a water pistol. But the reality of what the call log turned over to the January 6th committee actually shows — and what it simply cannot show — didn't stop "#TrumpCoverUp" from trending on Twitter or liberal talking heads from saying the gap in the call log was some sort of damning revelation. It turns out it's just how the White House runs, and more an indictment of its outdated procedures that are unable to track modern presidential communications than of Trump.

As CNN also points out, the logs received by the committee make sense: During the time records show President Trump was in the residence, the switchboard log shows calls being placed. Once Trump was in the Oval Office, the switchboard was no longer handling the calls and therefore none show up on the log. 

What's more, CNN explains that the practice of placing calls directly — either by the president or their aides — from the Oval Office is not some Trump-era practice designed to circumvent records, unless President Obama was attempting to cover up his communications too:

A former White House staffer who served in the Obama administration told CNN that if then-President Barrack Obama wanted to make a call to someone from the Oval Office, he would normally ask an aide seated nearby 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 White House switchboard log, the former staffer said.

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There's little doubt the January 6th committee will continue to drag out their investigation and likely keep feeding what it believes to be damaging information to sympathetic media outlets. But in this case, there's no there, there when it comes to allegations the White House call log proved some attempt at a coverup was underway.

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