February 10, 2022

On Deadline White House, intrepid New York Times reporter, Michael Schmidt, recounted his findings that the January 6 Committee discovered gaps in White House call logs for the day Trump incited mob violence on the U.S. Capitol. Naturally, because he's a reporter for the Times, which has a habit of behaving as if Trump's abject criminality was tantamount to returning a library book a week late, Schmidt's language contained barely a trace of concern surrounding Trump's habit of USING OTHER PEOPLE'S CELL PHONES and SPEAKING TO PEOPLE ON UNSECURED LINES WHILE DOING AN INSURRECTION. You know, just a casual "we're just trying to piece together what happened, there's the call log thing, he probably used his personal cell phone, and other people's cell phones to talk to people in Congress, and yeah, this is gonna make it harder for the Committee to figure out what happened." No big whoop.

Betsy Woodruff Swan exhibited a level of concern that matched the magnitude of the situation a bit more, noting this was a "highly unusual" way for a president to handle their communications, and that Trump's aides were "concerned" foreign leaders could listen in on sensitive calls. She said Trump "functioned differently than other previous presidents by using his cell phone so much," though I think Swan is exceedingly generous to ascribe the verb "function" to Trump in any way. But again, why can't these reporters come out and say, TRUMP WAS CRIMING?!? In doing "A" he was breaking "Law B?" In doing "C" he was "endangering national security" instead of "functioning differently than other previous presidents?" FFS PEOPLE

Finally, like a breath of fresh air, Neal Katyal was given the floor to tell it like it is. Swan had pointed out that these missing phone records might become a line of inquiry all its own, and Alicia Menendez (filling in for Nicolle Wallace) asked Katyal what he thought about that. He agreed.

"Totally new line of inquiry," he began. "And it is really unfortunate because this gap may make the 18 minutes of the Nixon tapes case that were missing look quaint by contrast. And you had said it is unusual to borrow cellphones from other people. But it is not unusual if you are a mobster. Because you do it because it makes things tough to trace."

THANK YOU.

"And I'm sure that Trump would have made his calls on pay phones if that didn't imply he had to leave the house. Indeed, Trump really did operate in this -- this is of a piece of other stories, in which he ran the presidency like a mob boss. If you don't create a record, you can't get caught," Katyal explained. Nice and simple, so that viewers understand what is going on.

Then, we got Neil with the Jokes.

"And what he didn't realize is that the presidency is more like filing your taxes. You are liable for the stuff you forget to include. And -- well, to be fair, it's not like he could draw that much personal experience with paying taxes either," he said, correcting himself. HAR.

"But the fundamental point here is that there is an entire legal regime to ensure the preservation of records, the Presidential Records Act is part of that. And when you go into the government on day one, you are told you can't use other cellphones, you have to use only your phone for official work, only your official email. There is a whole suite of things you are told, and it is impossible that Trump wasn't told those things. He had to have been told. So that makes a criminal investigation of this by the Justice Department more likely. This is an easier thing than some of the other stuff that is a piece with all the missing documents stories," Katyal concluded.

Raise your hand if you remember the e-mail lady.

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