The Secret Service has informed the Jan. 6 committee that it is going to turn over “pertinent” texts during last yr’s riot after reports of wholesale deletions of communications by the agency, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said Sunday.
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General told the Jan. 6 panel last week that the office was informed by the Secret Service that electronic communications amongst agents from Jan. 5-6 were erased as “a part of a device-replacement program.”
The texts were deleted after the inspector general had ordered that they be saved for an investigation into the riot, in response to the watchdog office, which the Secret Service denied, saying this system change was well underway before officials requested the texts.
The Jan. 6 panel issued a subpoena for the texts Friday.
“You’ll be able to imagine how shocked we were to get the letter from the inspector general saying that he had been attempting to get this information and that they’d, actually, been deleted after he asked for them,” Lofgren told host Martha Radditz on ABC’s “This Week.”
“After which there was a press release made by the spokesperson for the department [Secret Service] saying that it wasn’t true, it wasn’t fair, and that they, actually, had pertinent texts ― so we said, ‘Nice, if you’ve gotten them, we’d like them.’”
“We expect to get them by this Tuesday,” said Lofgren, who didn’t seem particularly optimistic about it. “So we’ll see.”
While Lofgren noted that the Secret Service said “pertinent” texts can be turned over, she told Radditz: “We’d like all of the texts from the fifth and the sixth of January.”
Lofgren said she was “shocked to listen to” from the inspector general that the Secret Service “didn’t back up their data before they reset their iPhones. That’s crazy. I don’t know why that might be. But we’d like to get this information to get the complete picture.”
It’s unclear how or if the Secret Service could have retrieved deleted texts — or if any deleted texts will likely be amongst “pertinent” communications provided to the Jan. 6 panel. The agency said last week that not one of the deleted communications were “pertinent” to the investigation.
The following hearing by the panel will likely be held at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. It’ll give attention to Donald Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, including the 187 minutes he took no motion to quell the violence that erupted on the Capitol.
Asked about an investigation into reports of possible witness tampering by Trump, in addition to the likelihood that each he and former Vice President Mike Pence could also be subpoenaed to testify, Lofgren responded: “All the pieces is on the table … This investigation could be very much ongoing.”
She noted: “I do think that there’s a wider plot here. I feel that’s pretty obvious.”
Lofgren said that she would “not wish to tell” Attorney General Merrick Garland “the way to conduct his investigations. But I’ll say this,” she added: “They’ve subpoena power they usually have rather a lot easier solution to implement their subpoenas than the Congress does. I presume that they’re taking a look at all the things. I might hope so.”