The Jan. 6, 2021 text messages from two Department of Homeland Security leaders during Donald Trump’s final days as president are missing, The Washington Post reported, citing four unnamed sources and email records.
The government phones of Chad Wolf, former acting DHS secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, an acting assistant secretary, were reportedly “reset” when they left the government in January 2021 and their texts deleted.
The DHS Office of Inspector General was notified of the missing texts in February but failed to notify Congress and made no efforts to recover the data, the Post reported.
This isn’t the first time Joseph Cuffari’s office has been criticized for withholding information from congressional lawmakers. Cuffari reportedly knew that Secret Service agents deleted nearly all text messages dated January 6, 2021 for months, but only recently told lawmakers.
The January 6 House committee chairman called the deletions “disturbing.”
“It is extremely disturbing that the issue of deleted text messages related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol is not limited to the Secret Service, but also involving Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, who ran DHS at the time,” chairman of the committee, Benny. Thompson (R-Miss.) told the Post in a statement.
The missing lyrics could have aided the panel’s efforts to piece together the events leading up to January 6.
“Had the Inspector General informed Congress, we might have been able to get better data from senior government officials on one of the most tragic days in the history of our democracy,” continued Thompson.
Cuccinelli was interviewed by the commission in December. According to CNN, he was involved in Trump rallies in connection with attempts to reverse the election.
The New York Times has reported that Trump has instructed his attorney Rudy Giuliani to call and inquire about the seizure of voting machines and Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli reportedly told Giuliani that DHS did not have the authority to do so.
The committee has contacted Wolf, The The Bharat Express News reports.
The latest disclosure of missing texts comes as the committee deals with Trump’s cabinet. The panel reportedly interviewed Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury Secretary, and Mick Mulvaney, a former White House chief of staff and special envoy to Northern Ireland who resigned after the uprising.
The committee is also negotiating with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a behind-closed-door interview that could take place this week, CNN reported.
You can read the full Washington Post story here.