- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 17, 2022

The House Jan. 6 committee expects to soon receive sought-after Secret Service text messages from before and during the Capitol riot that the agency tried to delete, according to committee members.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat on the committee, said the texts could be handed over as soon as Tuesday, possibly shedding more light on what then-President Trump was doing in the run-up and during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

“You can imagine how shocked we were to get the letter from the inspector general saying that he had been trying to get this information and that they had, in fact, been deleted after he asked for them,” Mrs. Lofgren said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General revealed last week that the Secret Service deleted text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021. The committee quickly issued a subpoena Friday for the agency to recover and turn over the texts.

The information gathered from the texts could be made public this Thursday at the committee’s next hearing, which is expected to be the panel’s final televised event for the current series of hearings. 

Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat on the committee, said they need the texts to “determine what kind of things went right or went wrong that day and their practices and procedures.”

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“We want to make sure that we understand the bottom line, like, where are these text messages? Can they be recovered?” Ms. Luria said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’ve subpoenaed them because they’re legal records that we need to see for the committee.”

The subpoena also demanded that the Secret Service give the committee “any after action reports that have been issued in any and all divisions of the USSS pertaining or relating in any way to the events of January 6, 2021.”

The Secret Service insisted the deleted texts were not an attempt to hide anything. The agency said the deletion was due to a pre-planned system migration in which the agency’s mobile phones had to be reset to factory settings. Data on some phones were lost during the process, it said.

The agency said Homeland Security’s initial request for its electronic communication was made after the migration was underway, and that the Secret Service notified the IG of the data loss. It said none of the texts the IG was seeking had been erased.

The Secret Service added that “the insinuation” that it “maliciously deleted text messages” after receiving an oversight request “is false.”

“In fact, the Secret Service has been fully cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) in every respect — whether it be interviews, documents, emails, or texts,” the agency said in a statement on Friday.

The Secret Service was already in the spotlight of the committee’s nearly yearlong probe.

In public testimony, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told the panel that then-President Donald Trump ordered the Secret Service to take him to the Capitol after rallying his supporters at the Ellipse ahead of the election certification in Congress.

Ms. Hutchinson testified that, in a fit of rage, Mr. Trump attempted to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limousine to steer it toward the Capitol and got into a physical confrontation with agents.

Secret Service officials have disputed portions of Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony, including her portrayal of events inside the president’s motorcade.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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