By Sarah K. Burris
Donald Trump (Photo: White House photographer)© provided by RawStory
WASHINGTON — Speaking to “60 Minutes” on Sunday, former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) mentioned in passing that there was a call from the White House switchboard number to an insurrectionist who had walked the halls of Congress after the mob broke into the Capitol.
In Riggleman’s new book, The Breach, the former lawmaker walks through the methodology that he and his team used as they sifted through thousands of calls, social media posts, text messages and other multimedia messages. After the attack on Congress, one of the key pieces of information released to the public was the White House call log that showed a blackout of any communications at the time of the attack.
“While we have moved past the era of manual switchboards when all the numbers in a given organization’s headquarters would be on the same exchange, service providers still tend to grant large entities like the White House blocks of extensions,” Riggleman explained. “When my technical team went through phone records, we spotted a few key exchanges that, in combination with the DC area code, were associated with the West Wing. The general number for the executive office of the president, 202-395-0000, came up quite a bit in our analysis, as did the White House switchboard number, 202-456-1414. Others seemed likely to be individual executive branch extensions. White House cell phones typically started with 202–881-XXXX.”
Knowing those prefixes, the team was able to sift through all of the calls and find the connections.
“At first, when we looked for White House calls during the blackout, we saw what we expected to see: the president’s attorneys, family members, allies, and top political advisers all calling out to or receiving calls from West Wing root numbers. It was easy to see that, contrary to the call logs, White House lines were active during the attack on the Capitol,” said Riggleman.
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The White House won’t identify the root numbers and the staffer to whom the numbers belong. So, it isn’t likely that the committee has been able to link a phone call to or from an insurrectionist directly to Mark Meadows or Stephen Miller or anyone else in the White House the way it would happen with a text message. Riggleman wrote that he pressed the committee to get the information from the White House Communications Agency, but as of April, he said that the committee hadn’t requested it.
Three officials on the committee, Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) have all told reporters that they’ve followed up on Riggleman’s information. The members have indicated they aren’t exactly happy with Riggleman for revealing the information he has in the book. Riggleman maintains, however, that the book is more focused on his experience of becoming a target of the far-right.