'Powerfully intentional': Analysis sheds light on the real reason for Trump’s 7-hour phone records gap
White House photo of President Donald Trump speaking on the phone aboard Air Force One en route to a campaign rally.

Former President Donald Trump is facing intense scrutiny amid the latest developments surrounding his alleged use of a burner phone as chaos erupted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

New reports are shedding light on the timeline included in the documents released by the U.S. National Archives which suggest there was a seven-hour gap in official notations. In short, Trump had no phone activity during this time. With the former president's history of using other communication devices, there is speculation he may have used a burner phone to conceal his unfavorable behavior while the insurrection was underway.

Now, The Atlantic's David Frum is dissecting the timeline in an effort to determine what Trump may be hiding. According to Frum, the former president's actions were intentional. "Trump’s phone choices were powerfully intentional. What was he intending on January 6? The answer is obvious: concealment. But concealment of what?"

Frum went on to break down the seemingly calculated nature of Trump's actions throughout that entire day.

"Trump’s actions that day were not secret," he wrote. "They all happened in full public view. He incited a crowd to attack Congress in order to overturn by violence his election defeat. He refused to act to protect Congress and the Constitution when the attack began, and for a long time afterward. When he finally did act, he did so ineffectively: a tweet at 2:38 p.m. faintly suggesting that the crowd be more peaceful, another at 3:13 saying so more emphatically—all following a tweet at 2:24 p.m. once again condemning Pence for not indulging the fantasy that his vice president could overturn the election for him."

Noting Trump's history of using different phone lines, Frum wrote, "As president, Trump often avoided using official lines. He used multiple phones of his own. He borrowed phones from other people."

Frum went on to further explain why Trump's phone usage was no random act. "Trump did not grab phones at random," Frum wrote. "He thought tactically about which phone to use. When the Stormy Daniels story broke, in 2018, Trump tried to place a call to Melania Trump on one of his own phones. She recognized the number and refused to answer the call. So Trump borrowed a phone from a Secret Service agent whose number would not be recognized. The first lady picked up."

The writer also noted:

"The world does not know everything about January 6—not yet, anyway—and Trump’s phone behavior may suggest the answer to the most important remaining questions:
  1. Did Trump in any way authorize the attack in advance?
  2. Did Trump in any way communicate or coordinate with the attackers as the attack unfolded?

Frum added, "Trump’s phone choices sought to conceal the answers to those questions."

He concluded, "Trump’s 7.5-hour gap likewise suggests consciousness of something. And it sure smells like guilt."

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