Trump claims he doesn’t know what burner phones are but used the term three times in lawsuit against niece

Revelation comes after former national security adviser said he had heard the ex-president use the phrase

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Wednesday 30 March 2022 18:02 BST
Russian state TV host Evgeny Popov calls on Americans to re-elect Trump

Attorneys for former president Donald Trump used the term “burner phones” — a slang term used to describe an untraceable mobile phone which he has denied knowing — in a September 2021 civil lawsuit, according to court documents.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post and CBS News reported that White House records turned over to the House January 6th select committee by the National Archives and Records Administration do not include any calls made or received by Mr Trump between the hours of 11.17am and 6.54pm on the day a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol in hopes of stopping certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

According to the report, the nine-member panel is probing whether Mr Trump or his advisers used such untraceable phones to evade official White House record-keeping systems which would otherwise have documented the president’s inbound and outbound phone calls that day.

Mr Trump denied doing so in a statement in which he claimed to have “no idea what a burner phone is,” adding that he had “never even heard the term” to the “best of [his] knowledge”.

But the former president’s own lawyer, Anina Habba, used the term three times in a lawsuit against Mr Trump’s niece — author Mary Trump — as well as The New York Times and a trio of Pulitzer-prize winning reporters who, with Ms Trump’s help, uncovered a massive tax fraud scheme allegedly perpetrated by Mr Trump and his siblings.

In the complaint filed in a Dutchess County, New York court, Mr Trump, through Ms Habba, said New York Times reporter Suzanne Craig “provided Mary Trump with a ‘burner’ phone in an attempt to conceal their communications”.

He further alleged that Ms Craig, a veteran investigative journalist, “chose to use a ‘burner’ phone because she was aware that her and [Ms Trump’s] actions were … unlawful in nature,” and claimed that Ms Trump, the Times reporters and the newspaper itself “knew full well that their actions were wrongful, as evidenced by their insistence on communicating through ‘burner’ phones”.

Mr Trump’s third national security adviser, Ambassador John Bolton, also cast doubt on Mr Trump’s denial of knowing the meaning of “burner phone,” telling CBS News that he recalled specific discussions with Mr Trump in which the former president made clear he understood such phones were used to shield call records from scrutiny.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in