“The commission is looking for relevant text messages (…) related in any way to the events of January 6, 2021”, specifies a letter from Bennie Thompson, president of the Commission.
He informed Secret Service Director James Murray in a letter on Friday that he had until Tuesday to turn over the missing text messages.
Joseph Cuffari, Inspector General of the Department of National Security, said in a Thursday letter to congressional leaders that he had difficulty obtaining Secret Service records dating back to January 5 and 6, 2021.
“The department has notified us that numerous United States Secret Service (USSS) messages, dated January 5 and 6, 2021, have been erased as part of a device replacement program,” Cuffari wrote.
These messages could be crucial to investigations by the House of Representatives and the Department of Justice to determine whether the former Republican president and his close advisers encouraged the deadly assault on the Capitol, in an attempt to prevent the certification of the victory of his Democratic opponent Joe Biden in the November 2020 ballot.
Secret Service agents were with Mr. Trump that day and with Vice President Mike Pence, who had been hiding in the Capitol after pro-Trump activists called for him to be hanged.
A former White House employee testified on June 29 before the House Committee of Inquiry that Mr. Trump tried to force the Secret Service to take him to Congress to join his supporters there.
The Secret Service says so far that its agents’ phones have been reset as part of a planned replacement program.
The Republican billionaire, who openly flirts with the idea of running for president in 2024, vehemently denounces the work of the commission, calling its members Tuesday “politicians” and “thugs”.
His party, which he still controls with an iron fist, has already promised to bury the conclusions of this commission if the Conservatives were to take control of the House of Representatives during the mid-term legislative elections. in November.