The Secret Service is the subject of a criminal investigation for having deleted texts from January 6

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Topline

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has launched a criminal investigation into the erasure of a treasure trove of text messages exchanged by Secret Service agents before and potentially during the Capitol Riot, according to various reportsas the agency comes under increasing scrutiny for its actions and intentions on Jan. 6.

Highlights

The Secret Service reportedly received a letter from the IG’s office on Wednesday evening telling it to suspend its internal investigation for fear that it could interfere with the IG’s investigation.

The probe is a criminal probe that could lead to the IG referring the case to the Justice Department if wrongdoing is uncovered, according to multiple news outlets, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation.

Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi acknowledged in a statement to Forbes Thursday that the agency received a letter from the IG office – it repeatedly denied there was malicious intent behind the deletion.

crucial quote

“We have informed the January 6 Select Committee of the Inspector General’s request and will conduct a thorough legal review to ensure that we are fully cooperating with all oversight efforts and that they do not conflict with each other. with others,” Guglielmi said.

Key Context

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari revealed in a letter last week that the Secret Service had lost their text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, due to an alleged “device replacement program.” Cuffari did not accuse the Secret Service of deleting the messages on purpose, but the January 6 committee quickly decided to subpoena the files and the National Archives demanded an investigation to determine whether the texts had been “incorrectly deleted”. . The Jan. 6 committee said Wednesday that the Secret Service had begun turning over the records it had requested, but noted that the agency apparently failed to keep the records properly, suggesting “a possible violation of federal law.” on the archive”. The Secret Service’s response to the Jan. 6 riot recently became a focal point of the committee’s wide-ranging investigation, after a senior aide to former Vice President Mike Pence testified that Pence had refused to letting Secret Service agents keep him away from the Capitol during the riot over fears they blocked him from certifying election results and former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified to an alleged physical altercation between former President Donald Trump and the head of his secret service on January 6. Hutchinson said Trump threw himself at Officer Robert Engel’s throat and grabbed the wheel of his limo when he was told he was not being taken to the Capitol for security reasons.

To monitor

The Jan. 6 panel will hold a prime-time hearing at 8 p.m. EDT Thursday night. It will focus on Trump’s actions during the 187 minutes between the conclusion of his Ellipse speech and his posting of a video telling his supporters to go home.

Further reading

Jan. 6, panel says Secret Service began turning over files, but agency may have broken the law (Forbes)

National Archives investigating whether Secret Service texts from Jan. 6 were ‘incorrectly redacted’ (Forbes)

Secret Service removed treasure from January 6 texts, watchdog says (Forbes)

Jan. 6 hearings: Trump grabbed the wheel of the limo and lunged at the security chief angry he wasn’t taken to the Capitol, ex-aide says (Forbes)

Trump’s response to the insurgency is the focus of today’s January 6 hearing – Here’s what to watch out for (Forbes)

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