The Secret Service has informed the Jan. 6 committee that it will turn over “pertinent” texts during last year’s insurrection 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 among agents from Jan. 5-6 were erased as “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 insurrection, according to the watchdog office, which the Secret Service denied, saying the program change was well underway before officials requested the texts.
The Jan. 6 panel issued a subpoena for the texts Friday.
“You can imagine how shocked we were to get the letter from the inspector general saying that he had been trying to get this information and that they had, in fact, been deleted after he asked for them,” Lofgren told host Martha Radditz on ABC’s “This Week.”
“And then there was a statement made by the spokesperson for the department [Secret Service] saying that it wasn’t true, it wasn’t fair, and that they, in fact, had pertinent texts ― so we said, ‘Fine, if you have them, we need 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 would be turned over, she told Radditz: “We need all the texts from the 5th and the 6th of January.”
Lofgren said she was “shocked to hear” 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 would be. But we need to get this information to get the full picture.”
It’s unclear how or if the Secret Service may have retrieved deleted texts — or if any deleted texts will be among “pertinent” communications provided to the Jan. 6 panel. The agency said last week that none of the deleted communications were “pertinent” to the investigation.
The next hearing by the panel will be held at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. It will focus on Donald Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, including the 187 minutes he took no action to quell the violence that erupted at the Capitol.
Asked about an investigation into reports of possible witness tampering by Trump, as well as the possibility that both he and former Vice President Mike Pence may be subpoenaed to testify, Lofgren responded: “Everything is on the table … This investigation is very much ongoing.”
She noted: “I do think that there’s a much broader plot here. I think that’s pretty obvious.”
Lofgren said that she would “not want to tell” Attorney General Merrick Garland “how to conduct his investigations. But I will say this,” she added: “They have subpoena power and they have a lot easier way to enforce their subpoenas than the Congress does. I presume that they are looking at everything. I would hope so.”