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Jan. 6 investigators to receive Secret Service texts after reported data loss

Tony Capaccio
Bloomberg News (TNS)

The House committee investigating the U.S. Capitol assault expects to receive text messages it has subpoenaed from the Secret Service by Tuesday, panel member Zoe Lofgren said.

A government inspector general told the panel last week that the agency wasn’t cooperating with its inquiry into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack by supporters of former President Donald Trump, prompting the committee to subpoena the records. A U.S. Secret Service spokesman said Saturday the agency will cooperate “by responding swiftly” to the subpoena.

“We need all of the texts for the 5th and 6th,” Lofgren, a California Democrat, said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “I was shocked to hear they didn’t back up their data before they reset their iPhones.”

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Some of the most riveting testimony from the panel’s televised hearings concerned then-President Trump’s actions after he addressed a rally near the White House on Jan. 6. A former aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, said she was told Trump wanted to join the mob then marching on the Capitol but was blocked by his security detail and a physical altercation took place.

The text messages could provide insight into that episode as well as security concerns surrounding then-Vice President Mike Pence, who had gone to the Capitol to preside over the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

The committee plans to wrap up public hearings with a prime-time session on Thursday. The hearing “will go through pretty much minute by minute” what Trump did on Jan. 6 after he addressed supporters at the rally who then made their way to the Capitol, Rep. Elaine Luria said.

That includes when he “left the stage at the Ellipse, came back to the White House, and really sat in the White House, in the dining room, with his advisers urging him continuously to take action, to take more action,” the Virginia Democrat said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Luria said the hearing will incorporate previously undisclosed testimony from other White House staff who’ve not spoken previously. They “will add a lot of value and information to the events of that critical time on January 6,” Luria said without disclosing details.

Even if Thursday’s hearing is the last, the investigation will continue as “it’s very active with additional witnesses coming forward,” with both interim and final reports to be issued later this year, Lofgren said.

The Secret Service came into focus last week as the Homeland Security department’s inspector general, Joseph Farica, said in a letter to the committee on Wednesday that texts from Secret Service agents on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021 were reported lost during an equipment replacement after his office asked for them.

The agency, which is a unit of Homeland Security, says the texts in dispute weren’t requested until after the equipment changeover had erased some.

“The Secret Service notified DHS OIG of the loss of certain phones’ data, but confirmed to OIG that none of the texts it was seeking had been lost,” the agency said in a statement Thursday.

FILE - People march towards the U.S. Capitol with those who say they are members of the Proud Boys in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. An upcoming hearing of the U.S. House Committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection is expected to examine ties between people in former President Donald Trump's orbit and extremist groups who played a role in the Capitol riot. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)