Ex-Trump adviser claims Trump knew about ‘burner phones’ despite denial over call logs gap

Amb John Bolton says Mr Trump’s claim to not know the slang term for a disposable, untraceable mobile phone is false

Trump teases 2024 presidential run and repeats false claim election was stolen

Former president Donald Trump was aware that the slang term “burner phone” is used to describe an untraceable mobile phone used to evade surveillance, used the term on multiple occasions, and even said he liked the term, his former national security adviser has said.

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 recieved 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 so-called “burner” phones to evade official White House record-keeping systems which would otherwise have documented the president’s inbound and outbound phone calls that day.

In a statement, Mr Trump said he had “no idea what a burner phone is,” adding that he had “never even heard the term” to the “best of [his] knowledge”.

But Ambassador John Bolton — Mr Trump’s third national security adviser — has said Mr Trump’s statement is not true in the least.

“I can't understand what the the former president is saying because I heard him use the term burner phone a number of times,” Mr Bolton said on CNN Thursday morning.

“It was a term he actually kind of liked — he'd say, ‘you know, they have these burner phones,’” he added. “The former president’s acquaintance with the truth is often very casual. I think this is a good example of it.”

Mr Bolton also said he believes Mr Trump deliberately avoided using the White House switchboard to prevent creation of any record of his conversations.

“I don't know what other explanation would make any sense frankly,” he said. “Why would he do that? Because he didn't want a record of the calls, and what he was saying in those calls is is anybody's guess”

Additionally, one of the reporters who broke the White House phone logs gap story, Robert Costa of CBS News, said on Twitter late Tuesday that Mr Bolton had said in an interview that the former president was well aware of it and had used it during several conversations.

He added that Mr Bolton recalled specifically discussing with Mr Trump how one would use such phones to keep one’s phone call records from being scrutinised.

During his time in the White House, Mr Trump was frequently known to use mobile phones – his own or those of staff members and even Secret Service agents – to make all manner of calls, official and otherwise.

In one such instance, he reportedly used a phone belonging to a member of his protective detail to reach then-first lady Melania Trump in March 2018, just after he was sued for defamation by adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels.

The then-president was forced to use the Secret Service agent’s phone because Ms Trump would not answer his calls.

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