The White House patched through a phone call to a rioter during the Jan. 6, 2021, violence at the U.S. Capitol, a tech adviser chillingly revealed in an excerpt released Friday from an upcoming “60 Minutes” interview.
“You get a real ‘a-ha’ moment when you see that the White House switchboard had connected to a rioter’s phone while it’s happening,” Denver Riggleman, former senior technical adviser for the Jan. 6 House select committee, told CBS host Bill Whitaker.
“That’s a big, pretty big ‘a-ha’ moment,” Riggleman added.
Riggleman, an ex-military intelligence officer and former GOP congressman from Virginia, said he made the discovery after assembling a team of analysts to pore over 20 million lines of data, including emails, social media posts, phone records and texts, to trace the connections leading up to and on Jan. 6.
Groups that popped up included the “Trump team, Trump family, rally-goers, unaffiliated defendants” charged by the Department of Justice, “Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and others,” including “state legislators, alternate electors, things like that,” Riggleman added.
“We were able to do things, I think, in a way that had never been done before with millions of lines of data and to actually create a graph that shows how these groups actually intermingled,” he explained.
As for the communication via the White House switchboard, “I only know one end of that call,” said Riggleman, who didn’t provide details. “I don’t know the White House end, which I believe is more important. But the thing is the American people need to know that there are ... connections that need to be explored more.”
The information raises the ominous possibility that the storming of the Capitol last year to disrupt certification of the presidential electoral vote could have been coordinated between someone in the White House and the rioters.
“From my perspective ... being in counterterrorism, if the White House, even if it’s a short call and it’s a connected call, who is actually making that phone call?” Riggleman asked.
“Was it an accidental call?” Riggleman asked. “When the White House just happened to call numbers, that somebody misdialed a rioter that day, on Jan. 6? Probably not.”
Riggleman, who stopped working for the committee in April, said he aggressively pushed the panel to trace White House phone numbers.
A committee spokesperson told “60 Minutes” that the panel has vigorously pursued various leads, including those arising from Riggleman’s work.
The representative said that Riggleman was unaware of much of the recent progress the committee had made because he left “prior to our hearings and much of our most important investigative work.”
Since his departure, the committee “has run down all the leads and digested and analyzed all the information that arose from his work ... and a thorough report will be published by the end of the year,” the spokesperson added, without offering details.
The full Riggleman interview will be presented on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night.