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Media's latest 'smoking gun' against Trump comes crashing down: 'There are no missing pages'

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MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The media's latest "smoking gun" accusation against former President Donald Trump — allegedly missing White House call logs on Jan. 6 — has turned out to be a giant nothingburger.

What is the background?

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that documents turned over to the House committee investigating Jan. 6 were missing more than 7 hours and 30 minutes of call records on Jan. 6.

From the Post:

The lack of an official White House notation of any calls placed to or by Trump for 457 minutes on Jan. 6, 2021 — from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. — means the committee has no record of his phone conversations as his supporters descended on the Capitol, battled overwhelmed police and forcibly entered the building, prompting lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to flee for safety.

Because of the missing records, House investigators began exploring the possibility that the records were purposely scrubbed or that Trump communicated using so-called "burner phones."

John Bolton, who served as Trump's national security adviser, even claimed he heard Trump discussing burner phones, which Trump denied.

But what is the truth?

There is nothing nefarious about the White House call logs from Jan. 6, 2021, because they reflect Trump's usual telephone habits, CNN reported.

According to CNN, Trump rarely placed calls through the White House switchboard when he was in the Oval Office, instead relying on White House landlines, government cell phones, and personal cell phones. He typically only used the switchboard when he was in the White House residence.

Thus, the reason the call logs show the 7-hour and 37-minute gap is because Trump communicated via telephones not wired through the White House switchboard.

"The 6 pages of WH switchboard logs for 1/6 are complete based on an official review of White House records, according to a source familiar with the matter," CNN correspondent Jamie Gangel explained. "There are no missing pages & the 7 hour gap is likely explained by use of WH landlines & cell phones link."

Indeed, Politico reporter Kyle Cheney observed that the "7-hour gap in Trump’s Jan. 6 calls entirely encompasses the time he was in the Oval Office," and the call logs resume when Trump returned to the White House residence on the evening of Jan. 6.

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