According to reports, text conversations from two top Homeland Security officials regarding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol were deleted abruptly and may not be recoverable.
Washington Post reports that despite the clear necessity to preserve documents connected to the attack, messages sent by Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli were wiped as part of a so-called “phone reset” in the weeks following the incident. Despite knowing about the missing cases as early as February 2021, the department’s inspector general failed to notify Congress or take any action to recover the messages.
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Shocking new details have emerged regarding the most serious attempt in American history to thwart the peaceful transition of power from one president to another. Following Secret Service claims that text communications from agents involved in responding to the Jan. 6 attack were accidentally destroyed, this latest development comes as a relief to Homeland Security.
Why were all the texts permitted to be erased in apparent clear violation of federal records preservation standards and specific demands to save all information connected to Jan. 6? This is what the congressional committee examining Jan. 6 wants to know. Wolf and Cuccinelli are both Trump supporters, notwithstanding Wolf’s resignation and lukewarm criticism of his ex-boss following Jan. 6.
Both Cuffari and the Jan. 6 committee have previously been involved in a damaging stalemate over agents’ behavior, including some who had direct contact with former President Trump and VP Mike Pence. The agents were free to select whether or not to save or delete messages, according to the agency, despite being important witnesses to the attack and the response of high authorities.
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A spotlight was shone on the agents guarding Trump after witness Cassidy Hutchinson revealed that she was told the former president physically attacked one of them in an attempt to force them to bring him to the Capitol to lead the violent attack. After claiming the officers would be willing to counter those charges, the Secret Service has since recruited private attorneys, throwing severe doubt on their assurances.
McCarthy said Friday that he doesn’t remember informing Hutchinson that Trump was not welcome at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Inside the Capitol, Pence refused to get into a Secret Service van for concern that they would take him away without his permission.”