The House Jan. 6 Committee has subpoenaed the Secret Service following the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s office reporting that the agency deleted texts from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021.
Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, is demanding that the Secret Service hand over “relevant text messages, as well as 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 escalation follows the revelation that the Secret Service erased texts critical to understanding the agency’s response to the Capitol riot after the DHS Inspector General requested the agency hand them over.
The letter to the Senate and House Homeland Security Committees in which the DHS watchdog outlined its accusation was first reported by The Intercept Thursday. The outlet said it was not clear from the letter whether some or all of the agency’s texts from the two days were deleted.
The Secret Service said on Friday that 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 DHS’ 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 eras
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.
The Secret Service has reentered the spotlight in the House Jan. 6 committee nearly yearlong probe into the Capitol riot.
In public testimony last month, 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.