On Tuesday, March 29, Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reported that there was a seven-hour gap in the record of Donald Trump’s phone calls on January 6, 2021. Woodward and Costa’s reporting has sparked a great deal of discussion on whether or not Trump and his allies used “burner phones” that day; Trump has said he was unfamiliar with the term “burner phone,” but former National Security Adviser John Bolton, during a March 29 interview with CBS News, said that he remembered hearing Trump use that term.
A “burner phone” is a disposable cell phone, and minutes are paid for in advance. There is no recurring monthly billing with a burner phone.
Trump said, “I have no idea what a burner phone is. To the best of my knowledge, I have never even heard the term.” But Costa, in an article published by CBS News’ website on March 29, reports that “Bolton said he and Trump have spoken about how people have used ‘burner phones’ to avoid having their calls scrutinized.”
Costa reports, “White House records obtained by CBS News and The Washington Post show Trump did not use his phone for over seven hours on January 6, 2021, during the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the House select committee investigating the attack is looking into whether he used a ‘burner phone,’ or a personal disposable phone whose contacts could not be traced…. The White House documents show no calls placed to or by Trump for seven hours and 37 minutes — from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. — on the day when thousands of his supporters descended on the U.S. Capitol, battled police, and forcibly entered the building, prompting lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to flee for safety.”
Costa adds, “The 11 pages of records — which consist of the president's official daily diary and the White House switchboard call log — were turned over by the National Archives earlier this year to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack. The records show that Trump was active on the phone for part of the day, documenting conversations that he had with at least eight people in the morning and 11 people that evening. The gap also stands in stark contrast to the extensive public reporting about phone conversations he had with allies during the period when the attack was underway.”
Bolton, a neoconservative known for his ultra-hawkish views on foreign policy, served as national security adviser in the Trump Administration from April 2018 to September 2019 — when Trump fired him. He was long gone from the White House by January 6, 2021; so, it would have been in 2018 and/or 2019 that Bolton heard Trump using the term “burner phone.”
Reprinted with permission from Alternet