Text messages from the two senior Department of Homeland Security officials surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol were reportedly inexplicably deleted and may not be recoverable.
Messages sent by Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli were deleted in a so-called ‘phone reset’ that took place in the weeks following the attack despite the need obvious to keep records related to the attack, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
The inspector general who oversees the department was aware of the missing cases as early as February 2021, but did not notify Congress or take action to recover the missing messages.
The new revelation is the latest revelation about the missing evidence surrounding the January 6, 2021 effort to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another.
It comes after the Secret Service, part of Homeland Security, said it had somehow authorized the deletion of text messages from agents involved in the response to the January 6 attack.
The congressional panel investigating Jan. 6 wants to know why all of the texts were allowed to be deleted in apparent blatant violation of rules requiring the retention of federal records and specific requests to preserve all records related to Jan. 6.
Both Wolf and Cuccinelli are staunch Trump loyalists, although Wolf resigned in the days after Jan. 6 and issued a lukewarm criticism of his ex-boss.
The Secret Service has already been locked in a damaging standoff with Cuffari and the January 6 Committee over the actions of agents, including those in direct contact with former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Although they were crucial witnesses to the infamous attack and the response from top leaders, officers were allowed to decide for themselves whether to save or delete messages, the agency said.
Officers protecting Trump were in the spotlight when bombshell witness Cassidy Hutchinson told the panel that she was told the former president had physically accosted one in an attempt to force them to drive him to the Capitol to carry out the violent attack.
The Secret Service claimed that the agents would be willing to counter these claims, but they have since given up on testifying and hired private lawyers, casting serious doubts on their claims.
Rep. for House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Friday he did not recall telling Hutchinson that he did not want Trump to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Pence refused to get into a Secret Service vehicle inside the Capitol for fear they would take him away without his permission.
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