According to a shocking new revelation released on Tuesday, the Secret Service seized the phones of twenty agents who participated in the reaction to the assault on the US Capitol last year.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, they were delivered to the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s office.
Trump appointee Inspector General Joseph Cuffari alerted the Secret Service in July that he had launched a criminal inquiry into the disappearance of texts from January 5 and 6, 2017.
Cuffari’s office had asked that messages that could have been pertinent to several investigations into the January 6 incident, including the high-profile inquiry by the House Select Committee, be deleted, according to a letter he issued to the appropriate House and Senate committees.
Days later, on July 19, Cuffari’s deputy requested that “further investigation efforts related the collecting and preservation of the evidence” in the messages be suspended.
According to reports, the 24 phones were delivered “shortly after” that to the watchdog’s headquarters.
When asked what goods, including the phones, were handed to DailyMail.com, a Secret Service spokeswoman sent the publication to the inspector general’s office.
According to the spokesman, “the effort to investigate the travesty of the January 6th Insurrection is vitally important to us and coincides with the Secret Service’s purpose, which is to protect our country’s top government officials.”
We have and will continue to fully comply with all oversight efforts, and we have given all information requested in connection with these investigations.
‘To maintain the integrity of our work, preserve our independence, and consistent with federal standards, DHS OIG does not confirm the existence of or comment on criminal investigations,’ a representative for the DHS inspector general’s office told DailyMail.com.
Some agents were dissatisfied that their bosses took the decision to seize the phones unilaterally, according to NBC’s story from Tuesday.
The inspector general’s claim that text conversations were purposefully destroyed after his office sought them was met with public opposition by the Secret Service.
The organization said that a routinely scheduled upgrade that erased virtually all of the phones’ existing data was to blame for the deletion of messages. It said that when the texts were requested, the alteration was already in progress.
The accusation against Cuffari is that he inappropriately interfered with the inquiry.
CNN has previously reported that he was aware that the Secret Service had erased the texts in May 2021 and had notified DHS in July of the same year that he was no longer seeking for them.
The senior legislators on the January 6 committee and the House Oversight Committee accused Cuffari of hindering their investigations in a letter earlier this year, calling it “unacceptable.”
Democratic Reps. Bennie Thompson and Carolyn Maloney warned in an August letter that “if you continue to fail to cooperate with our demands, we will have no option but to pursue additional steps to assure your compliance.”
The shocking evidence provided by former White House assistant Cassidy Hutchinson at one of the January 6 committee’s last summer sessions is what first sparked interest in Secret Service text messages.
When they declined to send the former president with his supporters to the US Capitol, Hutchinson said that she was informed he grabbed first for the wheel of his car escort and then for an agent’s neck.
She reportedly overheard Trump shouting, “I’m the f***ing president,” at his Secret Service guards. Now take me to the Capitol.
The claims have been refuted by Trump.
On September 28, the committee from January 6 will have what may be its last hearing.
The panel’s vice chair, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, said over the weekend that the Secret Service provided members with some 800,000 pages of correspondence.
The sought-after text messages from January 5 and January 6 are still mainly missing, however.
At the Texas Tribune Festival, Cheney stated, “The texts itself, in many instances, are gone or other kinds of contact, like Teams messaging and emails, and other sorts of communication we have received probably approximately 800,000 pages.”