Denver Riggleman, a former Republican congressman from Virginia, said the White House’s switchboard connected a call to a Capitol rioter’s phone on January 6, 2021.
Riggleman, who has also served as an adviser to the House select committee investigating the riot, said in an upcoming Sunday interview with CBS‘s 60 Minutes that he believes former President Donald Trump‘s White House’s “connections” to the event “need to be explored more.”
“You get a real ‘a-ha’ moment when you see that the White House switchboard had connected to a rioter’s phone while it’s happening, that’s a pretty big ‘a-ha’ moment,” the former congressman said.
“Wait a minute. Someone in the White House was calling one of the rioters while the riot was going on on January 6?” CBS journalist Bill Whitaker then asked.
“Absolutely,” Riggleman responded.
“And you know who [was at] both ends of that call?” Whitaker asked.
“I only know one end of that call, I don’t know the White House end, which I believe is more important. But the thing is the American people need to know that there are link connections that need to be explored more,” Riggleman said. “From my perspective, being in counterterrorism—if the White House, even if it’s a short call and it’s a connected call, who is actually making that phone call?”
“Is there a simple, innocent explanation for that?” Whitaker asked.
“Was it an accidental call from the White House, who just happened to call numbers, that somebody misdialed a rioter that day on January 6? Probably not,” the former lawmaker said.
According to CBS News, the call was uncovered after the congressman gathered a team of data miners and analysts for the House committee to comb through 20 million lines of data that included emails, phone records, and texts in order to learn who was communicating with who leading up to the riot, as well as on that day.
Newsweek has reached out to Trump’s press office and the House select committee for comment.
Witnesses Testify to the House Committee
During one of the panel’s public hearings this summer, witnesses testified that Trump didn’t take action to stop the riot, failing to make any calls to any government agency or law enforcement department for assistance.
“You’re the commander-in-chief, you’ve got an assault going on in the Capitol of the United States of America, and there’s nothing? No call? Nothing? Zero?” General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in recorded testimony.
Pat Cipollone, who served as White House counsel under Trump, also testified to the committee that the former president didn’t make attempts to call the homeland security secretary, defense secretary, attorney general or the National Guard during the insurrection.
Meanwhile in a statement in June, the former president said the panel’s investigation into the riot is meant to distract the American public from the “disaster” of the Joe Biden administration, and that he actually won the last election.
“The January 6th Unselect Committee is disgracing everything we hold sacred about our Constitution. If they had any real evidence, they’d hold real hearings with equal representation. They don’t, so they use the illegally-constituted committee to put on a smoke and mirrors show for the American people,” Trump stated. “Democrats created the narrative of January 6th to detract from the much larger and more important truth that the 2020 Election was Rigged and Stolen.”
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