After issuing a subpoena to the U.S. Secret Service for text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 that were erased, members of the committee investigating the Capitol attack say they expect the agency will hand over the deleted messages by Tuesday.
The committee was only made aware that the texts were missing when the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari notified the committee chairman, Bennie Thompson, in a July 13 letter that they were deleted during a “pre-planned, three-month system migration” for the agency’s “device-replacement program.”
Members of the Jan. 6 probe were briefed by the agency in person on Friday and by the evening, the committee issued a formal subpoena.
According to a Secret Service spokesman, the text messages that were deleted were not lost permanently. When making the rounds on the Sunday morning news shows, members like Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Adam Kinzinger said they expected the Secret Service to cooperate in full.
“We expect to get them by this Tuesday,” Lofgren, a California Democrat, told ABC News. “We need all the texts from the fifth and the sixth of January.”
UPDATE: On Tuesday afternoon, it was reported by The Washington Post that the Sercret Service will not be turning over the deleted texts because they were totally purged and are being described as non-recoverable.
The National Archives has now ordered the Secret Service to investigate how the texts were lost. More on that here:
Lofgren described “shock” as the mutually shared experience of committee members after Cuffari initially informed the probe that the text messages they requested months ago were erased. Kinzinger, one of the probe’s two Republicans, told anchors at CBS it was “quite crazy” the messages were deleted but like Lofgren, said he expected the Secret Service would hand over the messages by Tuesday.
“They’ve said they’ll meet this deadline and we’ll see what we get here,” Kinzinger said on Face the Nation.
Jan. 6 Cmte Letter to USSS Director Murray by Daily Kos on Scribd
Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said last week that any claims the service was not cooperating with the committee were false.
Notably, the director of the Secret Service, James Murray, will be retiring soon. The Trump appointee made the announcement on July 7. According to a letter obtained by The New York Times, Murray said he accepted a job with Snap, the company that runs the social media app Snapchat. His retirement was also flagged in April to Department of Homeland Security adviser Alexander Mayorkas.
The Jan. 6 committee will meet again on Thursday for what is expected to be its final public hearing. It will be aired during prime time at 8 PM. Investigators have said they will present evidence of Trump’s “dereliction of duty” during a three-hour period on Jan. 6 when he sat idly by and watched as the Capitol came under siege. The hearing will be led by Kinzinger and Elaine Luria, a Democrat of Virginia.
The witness list for Thursday’s hearing has not been released as of Monday afternoon, but it’s a safe bet to say there will be more video footage aired from the closed-door deposition of Pat Cipollone, the former White House attorney under Trump. Depending on what the committee receives from the Secret Service, that could also shake up the witness panel.
Additional or new evidence that comes to the surface may prompt additional hearings in the future, and the committee has not been outwardly opposed to doing so. A final report is expected in the fall.
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