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Jan. 6 committee probing 7.5 hour gap in White House phone logs

The House Jan. 6 committee is investigating more than seven-and-a-half hours of missing White House phone logs during the Capitol riot last year. 

Fox News confirmed Tuesday that the Jan. 6 committee is probing a gap of seven hours and 37 minutes in White House phone logs of President Trump’s phone calls on Jan. 6, 2021.

The gap runs between 11:17 a.m. ET and 6:54 p.m. ET on Jan. 6 during the heart of the Capitol riot. The log issue was first reported by The Washington Post and CBS News.

FEDERAL JUDGE SAYS TRUMP ‘LIKELY VIOLATED’ FEDERAL OBSTRUCTION STATUTE 

The Department of Justice declined to comment to Fox News on the specific phone log gap. 

“Let’s be very clear, we are going to continue to do those cases,” U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Monday. “We are going to hold those perpetrators accountable, no matter where the facts lead us at as the Attorney General has said, no matter what level we will do those cases.”

During the missing hours, Trump attended a rally and spoke at the Ellipse, a 52-acre park south of the White House fence. A crowd of people then moved to the U.S. Capitol, overwhelming police and marauded through the building for hours before they were finally kicked out and the building was declared secure at about 5:30 p.m. More than 700 people have been arrested. 

The news comes a day after the Jan. 6 committee adopted a report Monday recommending that the House of Representatives cite Daniel Scavino, Jr., and Peter Navarro for criminal contempt of Congress. 

Both men worked in the White House as advisers to former President Trump leading up to the Jan. 6 riot and have dodged subpoenas for records and testimony, arguing that information is protected under executive privilege, a principle that normally applies to a president and his closest aides to make sure sensitive conversations stay private to protect the presidency and U.S. national security. 

At a select business meeting Monday, Jan. 6 committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mass., argued that Trump’s former trade adviser, Navarro, specifically has “stonewalled” the committee’s work by rejecting subpoenas while despite sharing relevant details on TV and podcasts and in his own book and that President Biden said executive privilege shouldn’t prevent either man from cooperating with the select committee. 

“They’re not fooling anybody. They are obligated to comply with our investigation. They have refused to do so. And that’s a crime,” Thompson said. 

The meeting came after United States District Court Judge David Carter said Monday that Trump “likely” violated a federal obstruction statute as part of a ruling in the case of John Eastman, former law school dean at Chapman University, whose emails are being sought by the select committee. 

The committee subpoenaed Scavino, Trump’s former deputy chief of staff for communications, for information on his proximity to Trump on the day of the riot, conversations about challenging the election results and any role in planning the rally at The Ellipse. Navarro is accused of promoting election fraud claims by working with former White House strategist Stephen Bannon to delay Congress in certifying Joe Biden’s victory. 

It’s unclear if the Justice Department will pursue charges if the House does act on the censure. The DOJ hasn’t acted a contempt report from December for former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, but Bannon is scheduled to stand trial this summer and could be sentenced to up to two years in prison or fined up to $200,000 if convicted. Last week, Politico reported that a federal judge ordered the DOJ to produce internal records related to the decision to prosecute Bannon, who maintained that he was legally not required to respond to subpoenas by the Jan. 6 select committee. 

“Like Mr. Meadows, Mr. Navarro insists that he is above the law and is categorically and absolutely immune from any congressional subpoena regarding January 6th. We are aware of no court, anywhere in America, that has ever agreed with this proposition,” select committee vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., said. “In this context, Mr. Navarro was not acting as a White House aide advising the president on official matters of policy.”

“He was acting as a Trump campaign operative planning a political effort to obstruct or impede Congress’s constitutional proceeding to count electoral votes,” she added. “The Department of Justice is entrusted with the defense of our Constitution. Department leadership should not apply any doctrine of immunity that might block Congress from fully uncovering and addressing the causes of the January 6th attack.”

Cheney also invoked the Russian invasion of Ukraine in relation to the work of the Jan. 6 committee, saying “Democracy only survives if citizens are willing to defend it.” 

Trump communicated with at least some lawmakers during the riot. He spoke, for example, with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who asked him to call off the mob, according to Republican Rep. Jaime Lynn Herrera Beutler of Washington state, who said McCarthy told her about the call. 

She said in a statement, “That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said, ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.’”

Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama also said he spoke with the president in that time period, telling reporters: “I said, ’Mr. President, they’ve taken the vice president out. They want me to get off the phone. I gotta go.” That call by Trump apparently first went to Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who then handed the phone to Tuberville.

The committee has interviewed more than 500 witnesses, including more than a dozen former Trump White House staff members, though many have refused to answer some questions by citing executive privilege. 

“It’s important to note that even if a President has formally invoked executive privilege regarding testimony of a witness—which is not the case here—that witness has the obligation to sit down under oath and assert the privilege question by question,” Thompson said Monday of Navarro and Scavino. “But these witnesses didn’t even bother to show up.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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