Adam Kinzinger: ‘Quite Crazy’ That Secret Service Would Delete Jan. 6 Text Messages
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of only two Republicans on the Jan. 6 committee, said it would be “quite crazy” if the Secret Service deleted text messages related to Jan. 6. The Secret Service has come under scrutiny after pivotal testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified to the panel that she was told Trump lunged at an agent in a desperate attempt to go to the Capitol as a mob of his supporters descended on Congress.
News broke Friday that some Secret Service text messages had been lost when devices were reset to their factory settings in what the agency claimed was a “pre-planned, three-month system migration” of data. “In that process, data resident on some phones was lost,” the Secret Service said in a statement. But, the agency claimed, no texts related to Jan. 6 were lost. That statement contradicts what the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General said in a letter 2 days earlier to the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees, which stated: “The Department notified us that many U.S. Secret Service text messages, from January 5 and 6, 2021 were erased as part of a device-replacement program.”
“We’re going to know more Tuesday,” Kinzinger told Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan on CBS Sunday, referring to the upcoming deadline the committee gave the agency to turn over text message records. “We made the decision as the committee that we need to subpoena these records. The [DHS inspector general] came in front of us and said: ‘Look we have been working hard to get this. They claim it was this technological change — we moved everything, we lost these texts.’ And then [the Secret Service] also put out a statement, though, that said we’ve only lost some of the texts and everything relevant to this investigation has been turned over.”
Kinzinger continued, “Those are very conflicting statements, so we decided as a committee, let’s request these by Tuesday, and we can make a decision. I will say this, in the very least it is quite crazy that the Secret Service would actually end up deleting anything related to one of the more infamous days in American history, particularly when it comes to the role of the Secret Service.”
The congressman added, “If we don’t [receive Secret Service texts related to Jan. 6], it will call out the Secret Service as having said that they had these texts and they don’t. Is this anything big? We’re not sure. But we need to chase every lead down on this, and there’s the question of why they aren’t cooperating with the [DHS inspector general] and they need to.”
The Secret Service text messages in question could provide new insight into Trump’s activities on Jan. 5 and 6. What Trump was up to while his supporters were attacking the Capitol could be critical in understanding how far he was willing to go to subvert American democracy, including how he attempted to pressure Vice President Mike Pence into not certifying Biden’s electoral victory. Earlier witnesses who appeared before the committee, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka, described a “heated” phone conversation between Pence and Trump on the morning of Jan. 6, and Hutchinson testified that Trump sympathized with his supporters during the Capitol attack, saying the former president stated Pence “deserved” their calls to hang him.