Deleted Secret Service texts sent on 6 January, the day of the insurrection at the US Capitol, and the day before will be released by Tuesday to the House committee investigating the failed attempt by supporters of Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election result, a panel member said.
“You can imagine how shocked we were to get the letter from the [Department of Homeland Security] inspector general saying that he had been trying to get this information and that they had, in fact, been deleted after he’d asked for them,” committee member and California Democratic congresswoman Zoe Lofgren told ABC’s This Week.
“We need all the texts to get the full picture,” Lofgren added.
The Secret Service’s account about how text messages from the day before and the day of the Capitol attack were erased has shifted several times, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security told the House January 6 select committee at a briefing on Friday.
At one point, the explanation from the Secret Service for the lost texts was because of software upgrades, the inspector general told the panel, while at another point, the explanation was because of device replacements.
The inspector general also said that though the Secret Service opted to have his office do a review of the agency’s response to the Capitol attack in lieu of conducting after-action reports, it then stonewalled the review by slow-walking production of materials.
After the inspector general raised his complaints, he then discussed the feasibility of reconstructing the texts. But the issues so alarmed the select committee that the panel moved hours later to subpoena the Secret Service, according to participants at the briefing.
The string of fast-paced developments on Capitol Hill reflected how the erasure of the text messages – first disclosed in a letter to Congress by the inspector general, Joseph Cuffari – has become a top priority for the congressional inquiry into January 6.
The circumstances surrounding the erasure of the Secret Service texts from the day before and the day of the Capitol attack have become central for the select committee as it investigates how it planned to move Donald Trump and Mike Pence as the violence unfolded.
The texts are potentially significant for investigators as the Secret Service played a crucial role in preventing Donald Trump from going to the Capitol that day and wanted to remove then-vice-president Mike Pence from the complex, according to the panel.
July 18, 2022 at 11:13PM Guardian staff