Donald Trump has said he regrets not marching on the US Capitol building with his supporters on the day of the January 6 insurrection and again rejected suggestions he used “burner phones” on the day of the assault.
In a defiant interview with the Washington Post the former president said he had pressed to march with his supporters on January 6, but was blocked from doing so by Secret Service agents. “Secret Service said I couldn’t go. I would have gone there in a minute,” Trump told the Post, later bragging about the size of the “tremendous crowd” at the “Save America” rally that day.
Last month CBS News and the Post revealed internal White House phone records from the day of the attack on the Capitol showed a seven-hour-and-37-minute gap in Trump’s phone logs including the period in which the assault occurred. The reports revealed the House committee investigating the attack were examining whether Trump had used burner phones – disposable mobile phones – during that period.
Trump has denied doing so and said he did not know the meaning of the term, but last week his former national security advisor John Bolton said the former president had used the term several times in conversations.
In his interview with the Washington Post, Trump again denied use of burner phones and said he had not destroyed any call logs. He claimed instead he had not received many phone calls on the day of the assault, but remembered talking to two Republican congressmen, the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, and Jim Jordan.
“From the standpoint of telephone calls, I don’t remember getting very many,” he told the Post, later adding, “Why would I care about who called me? If congressmen were calling me, what difference did it make? There was nothing secretive about it. There was no secret.”
Trump also acknowledged he had communicated with Ginni Thomas, wife of the conservative supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, during his presidency but said he was not aware of her lobbying around the 2020 election results.
Text messages obtained by the Washington Post and received by the 6 January committee, revealed Ginni Thomas had repeatedly lobbied Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to push to keep Trump in power after Joe Biden won the election.
“First of all, her husband is a great justice. And she’s a fine woman. And she loves our country,” Trump said in his interview with the Post.
The former president also said he had not been contacted by the 6 January committee and offered no clear indication of how he would respond if contacted. He branded his daughter Ivanka’s appearance before the committee earlier this week as “shame and harassment” but told the Post he was not aware of what she had said.
The interview came as the committee received a cache of 101 emails belonging to the Trump lawyer John Eastman, which are likely to reveal details of the efforts undertaken to block former vice-president Mike Pence from certifying the election result in Congress on 6 January.
On Wednesday the House also voted to hold two former senior Trump aides, Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas issues by the committee, paving the way for potential criminal prosecution.