I Know Who You Called Last January with Rep. Zoe Lofgren | Crooked Media
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February 11, 2022
What A Day
I Know Who You Called Last January with Rep. Zoe Lofgren

In This Episode

  • The House January 6th Committee has found gaps in official phone logs from the White House on the day of the insurrection, during times when investigators know that former President Trump was making calls. Plus, new details have emerged regarding Trump’s handling of White House documents, causing concern that he may have destroyed or stolen “top-secret” materials. Representative Zoe Lofgren, one of the members of the Jan. 6 committee, joins us to discuss what this will for the House investigation.
  • The Cincinnati Bengals are competing in the Super Bowl this weekend for the first time since 1988, so to discuss his hopes for the game, and his love for the city, we’re joined by Mayor of Cincinnati Aftab Pureval.
  • And in headlines: Canada’s “freedom convoy” blocked a third passageway to the U.S., Congress passed a bill that would end forced arbitration in cases of sexual misconduct, and the state of California sued Tesla for allegedly allowing racist discrimination in one of its factories.


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Gideon Resnick: It’s Friday, February 11th. I’m Gideon Resnick.


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson, and this is What A Day, the podcast that, like Kanye West, is one side of an imagined feud with Billie Eilish.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, but our problem with Billie is that her music makes us experience our own emotions too deeply.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, all songs should be about three things only: dancing at the clurb, highways and, getting knocked down but getting back up again.


Gideon Resnick: On today’s show, the Canadian anti-vax trucker protest could go south to the U.S. Plus California sues Tesla for allegedly allowing racist discrimination to go unchecked in one of its factories.


Tre’vell Anderson: But first, some updates on the House investigation into the January 6th insurrection. The New York Times reported yesterday that the January 6th committee has found gaps in official phone logs from the White House on January 6th, during times when investigators know that former President Trump was indeed making calls. Then there was the insane detail from a forthcoming book from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman that Trump had at times flushed documents down the toilet to the point of clogging the toilet. Maybe this explains his bizarre and controversial theory that modern toilets need to be flushed a million times, and that is part of a broader concern that he may have taken documents to Mar-a-Lago and that he may have destroyed others.


Gideon Resnick: Right. It’s a mess. And there is a report from The Washington Post on Thursday saying that some of those documents were marked as classified and quote unquote “top secret.” Those labels were discovered as the National Archives has been arranging for the collection of about 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago. Apparently, the discovery of the classified material has led to a referral to the Department of Justice. So for more on all of this and what it will mean for the House investigation, we have with us today, Representative Zoe Lofgren, one of the members of the January 6th committee. Here is our conversation:


Tre’vell Anderson, interviewing: So Congresswoman Lofgren, let’s jump right on in. On Thursday, the New York Times reported that there were gaps in official White House phone logs on January 6th during moments where former President Trump is believed to have been making calls. From your vantage point, what is the significance of this kind of realization?


Rep. Zoe Lofgren: The National Archives has provided to us a phone log record, which is every phone call made using the White House switchboard. And then they also have a daily diary, every single person who goes in and out of the Oval Office. There are indications of phone calls in that log, but not in the afternoon. And we do know that calls were made in the afternoon. So the question is, you know, were the records incomplete or destroyed, or did the former president use his cell phone?


Tre’vell Anderson: So what would you say are, you know, what you are hoping to find out about that time, and what would it mean for this investigation that you all are doing?


Rep. Zoe Lofgren: Well, we found out a lot already because whenever a person makes a phone call from point A to point B and they’re people on either end, they’re overhearing one half of the conversation. And if you’ve got people on both ends, you’ve got the whole conversation. So in some cases, we’ve got that. In some cases, we need to know more about the content, and we hope to find that either through testimony or other documentation.


Gideon Resnick: There’s also some reporting about paper shredding and general document destruction, including this anecdote in an upcoming book from reporter Maggie Haberman that the former president was apparently flushing documents down the toilet at one point?


Rep. Zoe Lofgren: Yeah, I saw that article. I mean, I have no idea if that’s true. It’s pretty strange.


Gideon Resnick: I, it is pretty strange. That’s an understatement. So beyond how strange that is, what is the significance of him potentially doing all of that?


Rep. Zoe Lofgren: Well, it’s against the law. I mean, presidents have a legal obligation to preserve their records under the Presidential Records Act, and destroying the records is not in conformity with their obligations under the law. So ripping up documents—which we know we did because we’ve seen the piece pieces taped back together—is not proper. And I have no idea. I mean, I just saw the article in the newspaper about the allegation of flushing articles and plugging up the toilet. I mean, I don’t know if that’s true. If so that would not be in conformance with his obligations under the law.


Tre’vell Anderson: So let’s shift a little to what you are waiting to see from the National Archives’ recovery of documents The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the Archives is asking the Department of Justice to investigate Trump’s handling of some of the documents, with the possibility that classified documents were taken to Mar-a-Lago. If any of this were to be discovered as true, could that impact the investigation that you all are doing? And then, if so, what would the kind of potential legal ramifications look like on the other end of that?


Rep. Zoe Lofgren: Well, obviously if there are documents that have information that we need to complete our investigation and they were destroyed, that would be very troublesome. Whether or not we could piece together the information through other sources, we would certainly try to do that. As far as DOJ role, that’s up to them. That’s not up to us.


Gideon Resnick: And switching gears outside of just the former president. So Peter Navarro, who was a former adviser to Trump, was added to the long list of subpoenas from your committee. He has written and spoken openly about his work on a plan to get Congress to reject the results of the 2020 election. What new information are you hoping to get if he’s already been so public about his efforts to invalidate the election?


Rep. Zoe Lofgren: Well, we don’t have all the details of who he talked to and the direction he was getting to do so. And we would like that, to know that.


Tre’vell Anderson: I’d like to ask the question about what we’ve seen in terms of some of the reporting around or within the GOP, I should say, this week, after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the RNC over its recent censure of two of the House Republicans on your committee: Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. What do you make of all of this as somebody who’s working in concert with them on this committee?


Rep. Zoe Lofgren: Well, you know, we do have a bipartisan committee. And you know, I’ve been in the Congress quite some time now and I, but I’ve never had an experience where every member of the committee is pulling in the same direction, even the ethics committee that I chaired, which is evenly divided. But in this case, everybody just working together. I mean, obviously, Kinzinger and Cheney are very conservative. If you matched up their voting record in my voting record, there wouldn’t be a lot of overlap. We had different views on policies. But that has not kept them or me or the other members from deciding to work together as hard as we possibly can to get all the facts. And it’s been, you know, pretty positive experience. Usually you have a committee hearing and the members on the different sides of the political divide are lobbing bombs at each other, and, you know, diversions—there’s none of that. It’s just, let’s get the facts and let’s get this done for the American people. It’s pretty good.


Gideon Resnick: And I want to talk about the timing here. So there are reports that the commission wants to present their findings around April, but with all of this unprecedented amount of evidence that you are working with, what should we expect the timeline to realistically be?


Rep. Zoe Lofgren: Well, we haven’t set a date because the timing depends on the story that we’re able to present, which is really based in the evidence that we’re able to compile. Now, the former president delayed this, and so we’ve done a lot, we’re pretty far down the road, but we’re not as far as we hoped because of his frivolous litigation that delayed matters. But we’re working hard. The staff is working tremendously hard. Weekend, we didn’t have a holiday season, we just kept going. Usually there are multiple interviews or depositions taken every day. I’ve got about six feet of transcripts sitting here that I have to finish reading.


Gideon Resnick: Wow.


Rep. Zoe Lofgren: So, you know, we’ll get it done when we get it done. We’re aware that times are marching on. We’ve got to get it done. We’re hoping to have at least a first set of hearings in the spring.


Gideon Resnick: Well, Congresswoman, thank you so much for all of your time today. We really appreciate it.


Rep. Zoe Lofgren: Thanks a lot.


Tre’vell Anderson: As you heard, there will have a lot more to discuss on this soon, but that’s the latest for now.


Gideon Resnick: It is Friday, WAD squad, and today we are doing an extremely special temp check, some would call it even a super temp check because we have with us here today, Aftab Pureval, he is the mayor of Cincinnati, whose home team and mine, the Bengals, is competing in the Super Bowl this weekend for the first time since 1988. They have to beat the L.A. Rams—which they will—for their first Super Bowl ever. So, Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for joining us. What is your vibe about all this? How are you feeling?


Mayor Aftab Pureval: Gideon, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here. Look, good vibes only in Cincinnati right now. It’s been a really hard couple of years in our city and the country, given the pandemic, given the economic downturn, and this team, despite that, has Cincinnati believing. And I love this team because it’s really emblematic of our city. We are young, we are diverse, we’ve got that Cincinnati swagger. And we’re not just happy to be here on this national stage, we belong here and we’re going to be here for a long time.


Gideon Resnick: I want to ask you, truthfully, what your relationship has been like to the Bengals historically. Like, are you in the long-suffering fan camp? Are you in the band wagon’er camp? Tell me about it.


Mayor Aftab Pureval: Of course, I’ve been a Bengals fan my entire life. Look, I grew up about an hour north of Cincinnati and have been a big Bengals and a big Reds fan. Look, Ickey Woods was a hero when I was growing up. Boomer Esiason, of course. And the last time the Bengals won a playoff game was 31-years ago. The last time we were in the Super Bowl was 1988-89. I was literally six years old. We’re the future of this country in so many ways, and I’m so glad that people are starting to recognize that. Gideon, where did you grow up in Cincinnati?


Gideon Resnick: I was in the Pleasant Ridge area, so, um yeah.


Mayor Aftab Pureval: Pleasant Ridge chili is the some of the best chili in in the Cincinnati area. Gideon. I’m here for one reason, and that is to get you to move back to Cincinnati. What are you, what are you doing, man? We have we have dense, diverse neighborhoods that are walkable, that have good public transportation. We have world-class arts. What can I do to sway you?


Gideon Resnick: This is a tremendous sell. We will keep the conversation going. Can I say that for now? Is that is that all right?


Mayor Aftab Pureval: Fair enough.


Gideon Resnick: So what do you think is going to actually happen in terms of the team, the city, if and when they do win on Sunday?


Mayor Aftab Pureval: We’re going to continue to let everybody know, including you, Big City Gideon, that people need to know about the incredible work going on here in Cincinnati.


Gideon Resnick: Big City Gideon—I am never going to live that down. You just, you just annihilated me, sir. So let’s talk a little bit about this actual weekend. Is this your first Super Bowl that you’re going to?


Mayor Aftab Pureval: Yeah!


Gideon Resnick: What the plan? Do you have like a food and beverage situation mapped out? What, what’s the game plan?


Mayor Aftab Pureval: My game plan is to talk to as many people as I can about how great Cincinnati is. But Gideon, I’m open to some advice. I hear you guys do tacos well. I’m an Asian-American myself and I understand you have an incredible Koreatown.


Gideon Resnick: I can give you some recommendations, but I’m actually in New York while the rest of the team is in L.A., so I’m going to have to collaborate with all of them to get the rest of them. So this weekend, obviously, a lot of celebrities are going to be at this game, presumably rooting for L.A. That’s like who you normally see in the box and everything. Who is the best big-deal supporter of the Bengals, besides me?


Mayor Aftab Pureval: I mean, Big City Gideon, you are a big deal, there’s no doubt about that. But I think I think our most prominent A-list celebrity has got to be George Clooney. You know, we’ve got some other surprising A-list celebrities who have ties to Cincinnati: Sarah Jessica Parker, Steven Spielberg, of course, Nicolas Lachey. One of my favorite Cincinnati celebrities, Rose Lavelle, the incredible midfielder for the U.S. women’s national soccer team. L.A. is going to have Rob Lowe rooting for the Rams, and we’ve got, we’ve got the rest of the country. I feel good about our odds.


Gideon Resnick: I love that you said that Nicholas Lachey was an A-lister, or you put him in that ranking of people—all due respect to the Lachey brothers and everything that they do. Do you have any other parting words, any other thoughts that we didn’t get to about the city, about the team, what you’re thinking about this week?


Mayor Aftab Pureval: Gideon, I appreciate you giving me an opportunity to brag about our city because we are, we are incredibly proud. And we’re happy to have you back anytime. You just let me know, I’ll find you a good apartment or house.


Gideon Resnick: I’m holding you to it.


Mayor Aftab Pureval: I do want to share, in all seriousness, that Cincinnati is special. My story is part of that, is really emblematic of that. My mother is from Tibet, and she was forced to flee. She made her way through the Himalayas, through Nepal and into India, where she grew up as a refugee. And she made it to college in New Delhi, India, where she met my father. They got married and then in 1980, they immigrated, of all places to Beaver Creek, Ohio. But in one generation, my family went from being refugees to now the mayor of Cincinnati. And I’m the first Asian-American mayor of a city in the Midwest. That the future of Cincinnati, a place where no matter what you look like or where you’re from, you have the opportunity to achieve your dreams. I’m fully confident that the Bengals will achieve those dreams as well on Super Bowl Sunday.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I hope that you are right. I feel the same way, Mayor Pureval, thank you so much for your generous time today. We really appreciate it.


Mayor Aftab Pureval: Thanks, brother.


Gideon Resnick: Wow. Just like. That we have super checked our temps because this was, after all, a Super Temp Check. They are cool, calm and collected, like Joey Burrow. Who Dey, once again. We’ll be back after some ads.


[ad break]


Gideon Resnick: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.


[sung] Headlines.


Gideon Resnick: Anti-vax truck parades may soon overtake Drake as Canada’s dominant cultural export—oh, no. Canada’s freedom convoy is still in full effect and blocked a third passageway between the U.S. and Canada yesterday, disrupting the flow of goods and people between the North Dakota-Manitoba border. Meanwhile, Canada’s Border Service Agency has negotiated to keep one lane of traffic open on the Ambassador Bridge—that’s the major passageway connecting Detroit and Ontario—while the rest of the bridge remains temporarily closed due to the protests. And the movement seems to be growing internationally. Authorities in Paris and Brussels said Thursday they will not allow convoys to pass through their cities for planned rallies this weekend, in attempts to prevent the small but radical group of protesters from disrupting public order. And in the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security sent a bulletin Thursday to law enforcement agencies nationally warning of a demonstration that plans to start in Los Angeles this weekend, where, of course, the Super Bowl is taking place. From there, they warn, the convoy may head east with the designation of Washington, D.C., potentially in time for President Biden’s March 1st State of the Union. I’d rather they didn’t, me personally,


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m right there with you and a huge victory for the MeToo movement, Congress passed a bill that would end forced arbitration in cases of sexual misconduct, meaning it would make it illegal for employers to include clauses in their contracts that require victims of sexual misconduct to settle privately rather than go to trial. The bill is also retroactive, meaning that folks who were forced to settle prior to the bill’s passing can now take legal action against their employers. New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the legislation in 2017 and said the bill was, quote, “one of the most significant workplace reforms in American history.” The bill passed in the Senate with unanimous consent, a procedure that is seldom used by the chamber because it requires broad bipartisan support. The White House signaled support for the measure earlier this month, and President Biden is expected to sign it into law.


Gideon Resnick: Another civil rights lawsuit has been filed against the car company that lives 50 years in the future, and, also 100 years in the past—that’s right, it’s Tesla. California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company yesterday, alleging a pattern of racism and harassment at a plant in Fremont. The lawsuit makes some shocking claims. It describes the factory as racially segregated, with Black workers routinely being subject to racial slurs, truly awful, hateful graffiti that invokes nooses was allowed to remain in the bathroom for months. One Black worker said that he heard slurs as often as 50 and 100 times per day, sometimes from his own supervisors. Employees of the Fremont location, who are Black, were given more physically demanding work and were passed over for promotions, according to the California agency. Tesla’s record on these issues is not good, either. Last year, a jury awarded one Black former contract worker $137 million based on the racially hostile work environment that he had been subject to at Tesla. Another Black former worker at the Fremont plant won a million dollar judgment after an arbitrator found he had been called a racial slur by his boss. Dear Lord! That is a lot.


Tre’vell Anderson: You would think after a couple times that they might want to change some things.


Gideon Resnick: Maybe.


Tre’vell Anderson: But, apparently not.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah.


Tre’vell Anderson: New York City: if you can unionize there, you can unionize anywhere. Employees at three Starbucks locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as one store on Long Island, filed petitions this week with the National Labor Relations Board to organize with Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees Union. There are 9,000 corporate-owned Starbucks locations in the country, and now over 65 stores have sought to unionize in the last several months. These efforts in New York City come in the same week that seven Starbucks employees who are seeking to organize their store in Memphis were terminated for allegedly violating company policy. 75 New York lawmakers and U.S. representatives, including Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, signed a letter addressed to Starbucks President and CEO Kevin Johnson, supporting the union effort. In the letter, they say quote, “New York City is a union town and union busting has no place here. We believe that these organizing efforts will ultimately lead to a stronger and more sustainable future of Starbucks, the workers and our city and state.” one of the New York locations looking to unionize, is the company’s marquee roastery, where all 10 employees signed union cards. And with the roastery on board, it looks like this time the workers are holding all the beans. Gideon.


Gideon Resnick: I love it. Put your money where your beans are, Starbucks.


Tre’vell Anderson: All of the beans: kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans.


Gideon Resnick: Whatever you got.


Tre’vell Anderson: Lima beans?


Gideon Resnick: Pay your workers.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, pay them.


Gideon Resnick: For sorting through those and determining which belong in the coffee and which don’t. And those are the headlines. That is all for today. If you like to show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, get “Big City Gideon” tattooed on your bicep—please don’t, and tell your friends to listen.


Tre’vell Anderson: And if you’re into reading, and not just open letters to the Starbucks CEO like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.


Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.


[together] And the workers control the beans of production!


Gideon Resnick: I need to see that on a shirt immediately, because that is brilliant writing, Jocey.


Tre’vell Anderson: Shout out to the team.


Gideon Resnick: I love it. What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein, with writing support from Jocey Coffman, and our executive producers are Leo Duran and me, Gideon Resnick. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.