The tapes the House Select Committee obtained do not contain entries of phone calls between the president and lawmakers that have been widely reported in the press. Trump was known to make calls using personal cell phones, which may be the cause.
Two of the sources, who also reviewed the presidential diary from that day, say it contains little information and no records of phone calls for several hours after Trump returned to the Oval Office after delivering a speech in front of him. his followers at the Ellipse until he comes out. address the nation in a video from the Rose Garden.
A spokesperson and attorney for Trump did not respond to requests for comment.
Sources familiar with the investigation say they have drawn no definitive conclusions, suggesting the gaps in the records could be explained by the use of personal cellphones, or because Trump simply did not pass or receive. not many calls during the riot. It is also possible that the Archives will find other documents that may explain the gaps.
Compiled with information provided by White House staffers for the records, they are intended to chronicle the president’s activities. The journals of past administrations are full of information.
In some cases, the committee has already been able to fill in the gaps. Sources who have reviewed the records say there is an entry showing Trump trying to reach former Vice President Mike Pence on the phone before the Capitol siege. Pence did not respond to the call, and the committee has no record of Pence returning Trump’s call.
But the committee heard the couple spoke that morning while interviewing Pence’s national security adviser, Keith Kellogg, according to a letter the committee sent to Ivanka Trump asking for her willing cooperation. The revelation in the request, highlighting the significance of the hundreds of depositions already made and potentially reams of phone recordings the committee has subpoenaed.
“Whether it’s the absence of data or phone logs or voluntary testimonials, inevitably we have different sources to get this information because these are conversations that require more than one participant,” said Stephanie Murphy. , member of the committee.
“So even if there is one node that is unavailable, there are inevitably other points of information that we can use to build a more complete picture of what happened on January 6” , said the Florida Democrat.
The committee did not request Trump’s personal phone records, according to committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, who noted the panel could still revisit that possibility.
Thompson also acknowledged that the use of private cellphones was common in the Trump White House, including by senior officials like Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Sources also told CNN that Trump used to have aides call certain people on his behalf.
A former Trump White House staffer said calls on personal cellphones were rarely tracked or recorded. That same staffer said Trump also regularly uses his personal cell phone.
Former White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino was among those whose cellphone would be commandeered by the president to make calls, sources told CNN. A lawyer for Scavino declined to comment.
Scavino was subpoenaed by the select committee, and he is also among several Trump loyalists who have filed a lawsuit to block the committee from obtaining his personal cellphone records. Scavino initially tried to file the complaint anonymously, but the judge handling the case forced him to go public.
“We know that President Trump had a very unorthodox communication style using his own personal cell phones, but even in the normally odd practices of the Trump White House, this discrepancy raises serious questions,” the analyst said. CNN Legal, Norm Eisen.
“The shortcomings in call logs and ancillary records raise a very serious set of concerns, including whether there was an intentional effort to circumvent the usual system, and if so, who did it. directed and for what purpose,” Eisen said. .
Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and once-Trump ally, previously told CNN of multiple efforts to reach the then-president during the riot, through the White House switchboard, his aide, his man and his personal cell phone – no luck.
The committee asked Ivanka Trump to come in for an interview, and she hasn’t responded publicly. Meadows refused to cooperate and was referred to the Justice Department on possible charges of criminal contempt of Congress. He also sued to keep his phone records out of the hands of the committee.
The investigative techniques the committee is using despite the Trump administration’s lack of record-keeping are similar to a process House investigators used during their investigation into Trump’s impeachment shortly after the riot.
Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, said their efforts to obtain information from a wide variety of sources are essential to shed light on what happened, even if some witnesses refuse to cooperate or fight them in front of them. the tribunal.
“If that person messaged Meadows, then we’ll debate the political question of maybe we need to get that person’s phone records and compare the two,” Thompson said.
Both Jordan and McCarthy have so far declined an invitation to voluntarily cooperate with the investigation.
This story was updated with additional developments on Thursday.
CNN’s Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.