A mysterious nine-second call from the White House to the January 6 rioter but no clear answer why


At 4:34 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, a cell phone registered to a Capitol rioter who had stormed the building, received a phone call from a White House landline, according to records obtained by CNN.

The call only lasted nine seconds.

Who made the call and why remains a mystery, but it is the only known call made from the White House to a rioter’s phone during this critical time.

According to records, the call came from 202-456-1414, the White House’s public number. Like many businesses, outgoing calls from the White House do not show a specific extension. The call was made late afternoon, shortly after former President Donald Trump posted a video message on social media telling Capitol rioters, « Go home, we love you, you you’re very special, » at 4:17 p.m.

It’s unclear what connection, if any, exists between the White House and the rioter, including whether the call was made in error or went to voicemail.

The call was first revealed by Denver Riggleman in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes. Riggleman is a former Republican congressman who left his post as technical adviser for the Jan. 6 committee in April.

CNN first learned of the call earlier this year and is revealing the identity of the rioter for the first time.

The cellphone belonged to a 26-year-old Trump supporter from Brooklyn, New York, named Anton Lunyk, who traveled to Washington D.C. the night before Jan. 6 with two friends, Francis Connor and Antonio Ferrigno, according to multiple sources. sources close to the investigation. , as well as a search of the public archives.

The three men attended the « Stop the Steal » rally on the Ellipse, then, along with hundreds of others, entered and illegally demonstrated inside the Capitol, a charge to which they pleaded guilty in April and were sentenced earlier this month. Lawyers for the three men declined to comment to CNN.

According to multiple sources familiar with the investigation, Lunyk says he does not recall receiving the nine-second call and claims he does not know anyone who worked in the Trump White House.

The phone call was not mentioned in Lunyk’s sentencing or in any court documents. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington DC declined to comment.

Call recording obtained by CNN that shows an incoming call to a phone registered to Lunyk on January 6, 2021. The call is from 202-456-1414, the White House's publicly available phone number. The timestamp shows 21:34:04 because the call records were formatted in GMT; so he arrived at 4:34 p.m.

So is the call important for the January 6 investigation?

Tim Mulvey, spokesman for the January 6 committee, told CNN “in his role on the select committee staff, Mr. Riggleman had limited knowledge of the committee’s investigation. He left the staff in April ahead of our hearings and much of our most important investigative work.

In a State of the Union interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Jan. 6 committee member Congressman Adam Schiff also downplayed Riggleman’s comments to 60 Minutes that the call was a « moment a-ha ».

“One of the things that has given credibility to our committee is that we’ve been very careful about what we say; don’t overdo things, don’t underestimate things. And without the benefit of the additional information we’ve gathered since he left the committee, it poses a real risk of suggesting things,” Schiff told Tapper.

Appearing on CNN on Sunday afternoon, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, also a member of the committee, downplayed the importance of Riggleman’s book.

« He doesn’t know what happened after April and a lot happened in our investigation, » she said. « Anything he may have passed on before he left has been tracked and in some cases hasn’t really gone away (sic), or there could have been a decision suggesting that there is had a link between a number and an email and a person that turned out not to be successful, so we’re following everything, and, you know, I don’t really know what Mr. Riggleman is doing.

According to a source familiar with the work of the committee, the committee is continuing to investigate the phone call but so far has been unable to find out who made it or why.

Mulvey told CNN that since Riggleman’s departure, « the committee has gone through every lead and digested and analyzed all of the information that came out of his work. We will present additional evidence to the public at our next hearing next Wednesday, and a report in-depth will be published by the end of the year.

Lunyk, Connor, and Ferrigno were charged with unlawfully entering and remaining in the Capitol, entering the Capitol violently, disorderly conduct inside the Capitol, and marching, demonstrating or picketing outside the Capitol. interior of the Capitol. Last April, all three pleaded guilty to one count of marching, demonstrating or picketing inside the Capitol, and on September 15, they were sentenced to a few months of house arrest, probation and small fines.

According to court documents, there are no known links between the three men and the organized groups that attacked the Capitol, such as the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. Records reveal Lunyk and Connor attended the “Million MAGA March” in Washington in November 2020, but there is no mention of the men being connected to anyone working in the Trump White House.

Although the phone call remains a mystery, the public records provide extensive details about Lunyk, Connor and Ferrigno, including dozens of pages of private Instagram messages.

The three men left New York on January 5, 2021 at around 11:54 p.m., according to New York license plate readers who captured a white Lexus with Lunyk registration.

The following day, they attended the « Stop the Steal » rally and were admitted to a « marked-off area on the Ellipse » according to court documents, where they watched Trump and others speak. It’s unclear what prosecutors mean by « demarcated area. »

CCTV screenshot of Ferrigno, Connor and Lunyk entering the Capitol through the Senate wing door at 3:08 p.m.

At 3:08 p.m., a surveillance camera inside the Capitol captured Lunyk, Connor, and Ferrigno entering the Capitol through the Senate wing door. They walked into Senator Jeff Merkley’s workspace and were seen in the background of a live stream recorded by fellow Capitol rioter, social media personality Tim Gionet, known as « Baked Alaska ».

In a video posted to social media, « Lunyk and Ferrigno are seen laughing and recording on their cell phones in the background as Baked Alaska simulates a phone call to the Senate from Senator Merkley’s office landline. « , say the court documents.

A few minutes later, at 3:12 p.m., Lunyk and his friends are seen walking through the halls of the Capitol, taking photos in the Capitol’s crypt and finally climbing out of a window.

Nearly an hour and a half later, phone records show the mysterious nine-second call from a White House landline taking place. Lunyk’s white Lexus was seen returning to New York around 8:28 p.m., so it’s likely the men were already returning when the call was made.

Lunyk’s defense attorney’s sentencing brief claimed that Lunyk and his two friends ended up on Capitol Hill after being « swept up in a mob, encouraged by the President of the United States and fed a diet regular misinformation for months. »

However, the government’s sentencing memorandum reveals that the three men began texting each other shortly after the November 2020 election claiming they were « stolen and fraudulent ». Prosecutors allege the three men « came to Washington DC for the chaos. »

They sent messages containing sexually violent and threatening rhetoric about former Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, according to court records.

“I would have said, ‘Our work yesterday was not finished. Our end goal was to brutally assassinate Pence and Pelosi, and unfortunately today they are still breathing, so we must come back stronger and fierce next time,” Connor wrote in an Instagram message to Ferrigno, Lunyk and others. on January 8, 2021. .

« If they take my money, I’m going to shoot Pelosi, » Lunyk told Connor, Ferrigno and others on January 12, 2021.

“We violated AOC,” Connor sent Lunyk, Ferrigno and others on January 8, 2021.

Although there are no public records linking Lunyk, Connor or Ferrigno to the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys, they mention both groups in their Instagram posts.

In November 2020, Ferrigno renamed one of the Instagram group chats « The Proud Boys », before renaming it « The Proud Boy and Friends » in December and « The Oath Keepers » in January.

During their sentencing before DC federal judge Rudy Contreras, the three men apologized for their activities on January 6.

« I sincerely regret my conduct and am determined to exercise better judgment, » Lunyk said.

Judge Contreras reprimanded the men, saying: « You three just came across as real morons…all in their twenties, all living at home, none of you advancing your studies. » He concluded, « you all could use a heavy dose of maturity. »

Any call from a White House landline to a rioter’s cell phone is likely to get a lot of attention, but unless Lunyk or the person who made the call comes forward publicly, the content of the call or its possible meaning may remain a mystery.

cnn en2fr2en

Back to top button