The 457-Minute Gap

I had a Watergate flashback this morning inspired by a Woodward and Costa story in the WaPo:

“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.

The 11 pages of records, which consist of the president’s official daily diary and the White House switchboard call logs, were turned over by the National Archives earlier this year to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

The records show that Trump was active on the phone for part of the day, documenting conversations that he had with at least eight people in the morning and 11 people that evening. The seven-hour gap also stands in stark contrast to the extensive public reporting about phone conversations he had with allies during the attack, such as a call Trump made to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) — seeking to talk to Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) — and a phone conversation he had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).”

Was Trump using a burner phone? It’s what a crime boss would do. He learned his criminal trade from these guys:

L to R: Big Paul Castellano, Fat Tony Salerno, Roy Cohn, and Don Donaldo.

They used phone booths but would have dug burner phones.

I really should revive Trump’s wise guy nickname: Don Donaldo, Il Comico Insulto.

Back to the 457-minute gap on Dipshit Insurrection Day.

I know what a cover up is; it sounds like something was either removed from the records or never included. The White House staff is responsible for logging a president’s calls and they serve at the pleasure of the Current Occupant. Since it was Trump, make that displeasure. The dude is a one-man Festivus.

This story evokes memories of Watergate and the infamous 18 1/2 minute gap on a crucial Oval Office tape. Tricky Dick’s loyal secretary Rose Mary Woods took the fall.

As seen on the Newsweek cover above, Woods attempted to show *how* she’d accidentally erased the tape. Most people didn’t buy it since it involved moves that a sideshow contortionist would struggle with.

By all accounts, Rose Mary Woods was no Elastogirl. The only sideshow performer in the Nixon White House was Tricky himself. He was widely suspected of deliberately erasing the tape but it’s one of many lingering mysteries of Watergate.

Time for my Rose Mary Woods story. I never met her, but my father did on several occasions. His lifelong friend Ivy Baker Priest was California State Treasurer during Watergate. More importantly, Ivy knew Woods from her time as US Treasurer in the Eisenhower administration. Sometime after Woods did her Elastogirl shtick for the media, Lou had lunch with Ivy.

He returned home that day shaking his head, not his usual reaction to lunch with the affable Ivy Baker Priest. I was fond of Ivy and asked how she was.

Lou:   “Disgusted, that’s how.”

Me:   “Why?”

Lou:  “Ivy thinks Dick Nixon talked Rose Mary Woods into being his patsy. She said Rose Mary isn’t a klutz and the president is.”

It didn’t change his mind about Watergate, but he believed that Nixon was capable of making Woods take the fall. Lou thought the erasure was accidental. I did not.

Back to the 457-minute gap. Messing with presidential records is a serious offense against history and the law. We’re all aware that then President* Pennywise  had contempt for record keeping, even flushing stuff down the toilet when it suited him.

A reminder that Rose Mary Woods-level loyalty is rare in Trump’s inner circle. At some point someone is going to roll-over on the former guy. It may have already happened behind closed doors. It’s a pity that it didn’t happen before the second impeachment trial.

After Nixon’s fall, many said that his administration should be consigned to the dustbin of history. There’s a different destination awaiting the Trump regime: the sewer of history.

The last word goes to The Stranglers: