Secret Service Deleted Jan. 6 Texts After Oversight Request - Rolling Stone
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Secret Service Deleted Jan. 6 Texts After Oversight Request … For Some Reason

The agency has become a key part of the House committee’s investigation into the Capitol attack

A US secret service agent stands guard as US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Prescott Regional Airport in Prescott, Arizona on October 19, 2020. - US President Donald Trump went after top government scientist Anthony Fauci in a call with campaign staffers on October 19, 2020, suggesting the hugely respected and popular doctor was an "idiot." (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)A US secret service agent stands guard as US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Prescott Regional Airport in Prescott, Arizona on October 19, 2020. - US President Donald Trump went after top government scientist Anthony Fauci in a call with campaign staffers on October 19, 2020, suggesting the hugely respected and popular doctor was an "idiot." (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

A U.S. Secret Service agent stands guard as President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Prescott Regional Airport in Prescott, Arizona on Oct. 19, 2020.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The Secret Service deleted text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021 after oversight officials requested them, The Intercept reported on Thursday.

The revelation came in a letter obtained by the Jan. 6 committee that was sent by Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General — which oversees the Secret Service — to the House and Senate homeland security committees. The letter notes that the DHS IG’s office requested the Secret Service’s electronic communications from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 before being informed that the communications had been erased. The letter reportedly notes that the erasure took place after the request was made. Secret Service has claimed the communications were deleted as part of a “device-replacement program.”

There’s been plenty of reason to question what the Secret Service has to say about the attack on the Capitol.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified last month that Tony Oranto, a Secret Service official, told her that in the presidential vehicle following the rally at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, former President Trump angrily demanded Secret Service take him to the Capitol. Bobby Engel, a Secret Service agent, refused, prompting Trump to attempt to grab the steering wheel himself. Engel then retrained Trump, at which point the president “lunged” at him, according to Hutchinson’s recounting of what Oranto told her.

Multiple outlets then reported that anonymous sources familiar with the agency were disputing the shocking testimony. The story didn’t hold up long, though. CNN reported earlier this month that talk of Trump demanding to be taken to the Capitol and lunging at agents in the presidential vehicle had been circulating through the agency for a year. Two Secret Service sources told the network that they heard the story from multiple agents, including the driver of the presidential vehicle where the events allegedly took place.

Investigative reporter Hunter Walker tweeted the same day that in April a law enforcement source told him that he had heard D.C. police talking about a story about Trump demanding to be taken to the Capitol and getting into an altercation with Secret Service on Jan. 6.

It’s unclear how much information the Jan. 6 committee has about the alleged incident. Politico reported previously that Bobby Engel, the agent who was in the presidential vehicle when it happened, has testified behind closed doors. Tony Ornato, the Secret Service official who told Hutchinson the story, has reportedly met with the committee twice.

In This Article: Jan. 6, Secret Service

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