They had the narrative already written. Richard Nixon may have had an 18-minute gap, but the White House records couldn’t account for seven hours and 37 minutes of Donald Trump’s phone logs from January 6. Even Bob Woodward stuck his nose into the story – the lingering smell of another bigger and better Watergate had him aroused. Yes, the posse had arrived. It was high noon. The sun was blazing, and all the six shooters were aimed at the former president. He was a dead man walking and soon to be strung up for all the world to see. The seven-plus-hour gap in President Trump’s calls on January 6 was – by God – missing.
Then the facts got in the way.
It was CNN – of all places – who finally was willing to come clean about the latest conspiracy that had the leftist media frothing at the mouth over what they sincerely hoped was another possible Trump scandal. They thought they had him this time for sure. CBS ran with it, as did the prominent Washington daily that broke Watergate. CNN was pumping out stories about the 7-hour gap, and Twitter was in a hot and sweaty mess over it:
Chris Hayes: “Watergate—a very infamous cover-up. This definitely has overtones of that because there’s just really no explanation for the seven hours.”
MSNBC: ‘Astonishing’: Bob Woodward compares Trump call log gap to infamous Nixon tapes gap.
The USA Singers: Nixon erased 18 minutes. Trump erased 7 hours. Arrest that guilty m—f now.
HuffPost: A gap in official records raises the possibility that Donald Trump was using burner phones to speak to other officials the day of the Capitol riot.
Laurence Tribe: The “gap in President Donald Trump’s phone logs of seven hours and 37 minutes, including the period when the [Capitol] was being violently assaulted” makes the infamous 18-minute gap in Nixon’s tapes look like nothing in comparison.
It was a pitch-perfect leftist narrative, a “smoking gun,” and then – shocker – CNN coughed up a reasonable explanation:
According to multiple sources familiar with Trump’s phone behavior and the White House switchboard records, the January 6 log reflects Trump’s typical phone habits. He mainly placed calls through the switchboard when he was in the residence but rarely used it when he was in the Oval Office. The fact the log does not show calls on Jan. 6, 2021, from the Oval Office is not unusual, said the sources, because Trump typically had staff either place calls directly for him on landlines or cell phones. Those calls would not be noted on the switchboard log.
Of course, the “most trusted name in news” could not stop itself from lamenting that there appears to be a perfectly logical explanation for the lack of phone logs. Nor could they stop the ad hominem attacks, saying the White House switchboard is an antiquated system, “And it’s certainly not one suited for the era of cell phones and text messages or to a President well known for his efforts to circumvent official channels of communications.”
Dadgummit. Just when the activist media thought they had Trump nailed to the wall, a simple explanation arose. The president was talking on a cell phone. Imagine that? Now the question is what to do with all those column inches, all those hours of speculation on cable news, all the best-made plans – to use a familiar phrase – of mice and men.
Will they run retractions of their wild accusations? Will they correct themselves on the record or just remove it from the internet? There could be a lot of 404 errors popping up as part of a much-needed cover-up of the scribes and pundits who had Mr. Trump in their sights – but lost him, again.
Perhaps they can dump all the paper in a firepit and put these stories together with the gazillion column inches they wrote about the “fake Hunter Biden laptop.” That would surely turn into a four-alarm blaze that would be seen for miles. But first, they would need to wipe the egg off their faces.