January 6th: Phone Records, Text Messages, and a Court Case
As the investigation continues into the events of January 6th, three pieces of information were revealed this week, including Trump's missing phone records, text messages from a Supreme Court justice's wife, and a judge's ruling that a crime had likely been committed.
US District judge David Carter ordered attorney and Trump ally John Eastman to turn over more than 100 emails to the House Select Committee investigating the riot, ruling it was "more likely than not" that former President Donald Trump violated the law and "corruptly attempted to obstruct" the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.
As described by Tom Dreisbach for NPR, "In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Eastman put together legal strategies and advised the Trump team on how they might overturn President Biden's electoral victory." The Jan. 6 Select Committee has sought documents and testimony from Eastman, who sued to block their release by claiming attorney-client privilege.
Trump 'likely' committed crime trying to stay in power, judge says in records dispute (Tom Dreisbach - NPR)
This ruling was also covered by Callie Patteson for the New York Post.
Judge rules Trump ‘likely’ tried to obstruct Congress on Jan. 6 (Callie Patteson - New York Post)
Meanwhile, "The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol has identified an almost 8-hour gap in official White House records of then-President Donald Trump’s phone calls as the violence unfolded and his supporters stormed the building," according to the AP.
8-hour gap in Trump’s Jan. 6 White House phone records (Mary Clark Jalonick, Colleen Long, and Jill Colvin - Associated Press)
Questions about the missing records abounded, some even suggesting that a disposable "burner phone" was used to hide the calls. According to Rebecca Falconer in Axios, Trump told news outlets, "I have no idea what a burner phone is, to the best of my knowledge I have never even heard the term." However, former National Security Advisor John Bolton disputes that assertion.
John Bolton recalls discussing burner phones with Trump (Rebecca Falconer - Axios)
Finally, text messages between President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, first obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News, were released to the public.
As Peter Wehner writes in The Atlantic, the exchanges were "extraordinary and unsettling." Texting almost 30 times in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, "their purpose was not to lament the result; it was to encourage efforts to overturn it."
A Glimpse Into a Fearful, Angry, Imaginary World (Peter Wehner - The Atlantic)
According to an insightful, fact-checking article from PolitiFact, "the messages included references to an imaginary financial system, an alleged sting operation involving watermarked ballots, and Guantanamo Bay military tribunals" as well as "pressed Meadows to take action on Trump’s false claims of election fraud."
A fact-checker’s guide to Ginni Thomas’ texts to Trump’s chief of staff (Bill McCarthy and Amy Sherman - PolitiFact)