On Jan. 6, 2021, text messages from two Department of Homeland Security leaders during Donald Trump’s final days as president went missing, The Washington Post reported, citing four unnamed sources and email records.
The government phones of Chad Wolf, former acting DHS secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary, were reportedly “reset” when they left government in January 2021, erasing their texts.
The DHS Inspector General’s Office was notified of the missing texts in February, but did not notify Congress and made no effort to retrieve the documents, the Post reported.
This isn’t the first time Joseph Cuffari’s office has come under fire for withholding information from congressional lawmakers. Cuffari would have known that Secret Service agents had deleted nearly all of the January 6, 2021 text messages for months, but only recently informed lawmakers.
The chairman of the House Jan. 6 committee called the deletions “troubling.”
“It is extremely troubling that the issue of deleted text messages related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol is not limited to the Secret Service, but also includes Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, who were running DHS at the time,” said committee chairman Bennie. Thompson (R-Miss.) told the Post in a statement.
The missing texts could have aided the panel’s efforts to piece together the events leading up to January 6.
“Had the Inspector General briefed Congress, we might have been able to get better accounts from senior administration officials regarding one of the most tragic days in the history of our democracy,” Thompson continued. .
Cuccinelli was interviewed by the committee in December. He was involved in Trump meetings related to efforts to nullify the election, according to CNN.
The New York Times reported that Trump had his lawyer Rudy Giuliani call Cuccinelli and inquire about the seizure of the voting machines. Cuccinelli allegedly told Giuliani that DHS had no authority to do so.
The committee contacted Wolf, the Associated Press reported.
The latest revelation of missing texts comes as the committee focuses on Trump’s cabinet. The panel reportedly interviewed Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury Secretary, and Mick Mulvaney, a former White House chief of staff and special envoy to Northern Ireland who resigned over the uprising.
The committee is also negotiating with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a closed-door interview that could take place as early as this week, CNN reported.
You can read the full Washington Post article here.
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