A Watergate prosecutor compared Donald Trump’s phone-log gap to the gap in a Richard Nixon call.
She said Trump’s gap might’ve hidden something more serious than what experts think Nixon omitted.
“A lot can be said in 457 minutes,” Jill Wine-Banks wrote of Trump’s call-log gap.
A Watergate prosecutor on Saturday compared Donald Trump’s missing January 6, 2021, phone logs to a minutes-long gap in one of Richard Nixon’s calls related to the scandal that cost Nixon his presidency — and she concluded that Trump’s case had the potential to be far more serious.
“Trump’s records gap is 25 times as long as Nixon’s, but his alleged crime could be incalculably worse,” she concluded.
Trump is under scrutiny over a gap of seven hours and 37 minutes in the White House’s call logs on the day of the Capitol riot. The absence of these call records has also prompted the House January 6 committee to investigate what one unnamed lawmaker has called a “possible cover-up.”
“A lot can be said in 457 minutes,” Wine-Banks wrote. “Comparisons to the 18.5-minute gap in a crucial President Richard Nixon recording were immediately obvious to me.”
Wine-Banks, who cross-examined Nixon’s secretary in 1973 about the gap, also observed she was “not the only to make that connection” between Trump and Nixon.
“First, Nixon’s gap seems — based on my experience and other experts — to have been a deliberate erasure,” she wrote. “Is Trump’s? We don’t have enough evidence to say for sure yet, but the missing chunk certainly appears deliberate.”
Wine-Banks said the missing information in Trump’s case seemed “suspicious” and prompted a “series of urgent follow-up questions.”
“It is unlikely, even incredible, that no one called in to the president for 457 minutes during a crisis when he was in the White House,” she wrote. “Even calls that go unanswered in the White House should be listed on official logs.”
Wine-Banks added that while the gap in Nixon’s conversation was “about covering up a third-rate burglary,” any calls that Trump made during the insurrection were notable given scrutiny about whether he broke any laws while trying to cling to power after losing to Joe Biden in the 2020 US election.
The Watergate scandal centered on the Nixon administration’s efforts to cover up its involvement in a 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in Washington, DC. The scandal led to Nixon’s resignation from the presidency in August 1974.
Parallels were often drawn between Watergate and the numerous scandals that plagued the White House during Trump’s presidency.
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