Throughout the ongoing investigation concerning the Jan. 6th riots, a question remains about former President Trump’s activities and whereabouts as his supporters stormed the Capitol building. CNN reports one single text exchange was provided to DHS inspector general Joseph Cuffari despite requesting a month’s worth of records. Initially, it was said that Secret Service agents had failed to provide erased texts from that January 5 to Jan. 6th period.
As CNN points out, the Secret Service was sent a broad preservation and production request by Congress on January 16, 2021, which asked for documents and materials related to January 6. So, if it seems concerning that all these texts are missing, it should be. There was a phone migration process scheduled to start on January 27, where agents received instructions on how to preserve all mobile data. While the Secret Service stated it’s the agent’s responsibility to maintain texts, they are still “working to determine if any relevant information was lost in the phone migration.”
Despite these questions, inspector general Cuffari does say his office has received “hundreds of thousands of disclosures of agency documents, policies, radio communications, emails, briefings and interviews” text messages sent and received by 24 Secret Service personnel between December 7, 2020, and January 8, 2021.
“The Secret Service submitted the responsive records it identified, namely, a text message conversation from former US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to former Secret Service Uniformed Division Chief Thomas Sullivan requesting assistance on January 6, 2021, and advised the agency did not have any further records responsive to the DHS OIG’s request for text messages,” Assistant Director Ronald Rowe wrote in the letter to the January 6 committee.
The Jan. 6th house select committee has not yet seen the lone text message, as Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) stated to MSNBC. However, she reiterates that the group would like to understand why all these texts are missing. The committee had subpoenaed the Secret Service last week for texts and gave the agency a Tuesday morning deadline to comply.
“In their letter they gave no indication that they have secured the phones in question and done some forensic work with them. That’s something we want to know,” Lofgren said. “This obviously, this doesn’t look good. Coincidences can happen but we really need to get to the bottom of this and get a lot more information than we have currently.”
While this is no surprise, former President Trump is also anxious to get his hands on the texts. This is mainly to dispute a claim that Trump allegedly tried to lunge at a secret service agent when he was told he could not go to Capitol that day.
“I want the Secret Service tapes far more than the Unselect Committee of political Hacks and Thugs in that ridiculous and libelous story of me supposedly choking a big and strong Secret Service Agent around the neck while the Beast (wrong car!) would be shown to be, as the Secret Service has already confirmed, Fake (and Fraudulent!),” Trump said.