House

Raskin says he doesn’t buy the Secret Service’s lost text story

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, said he doesn’t believe the Secret Service’s story regarding the deletion of text messages the panel subpoenaed. 

The committee asked the Secret Service to turn over text messages between agents from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, following a letter from a government watchdog saying the texts had been “erased” as part of a device replacement program. 

The Secret Service response to the subpoena included just one text message, with the agency saying agents were advised to archive their texts before phones underwent a software migration. 

“I don’t really buy that for one minute,” Raskin said on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” “For one thing, isn’t it a little odd that all of the texts would vanish for Jan. 6th and Jan. 5th? Of all the days, what an odd coincidence that is.” 

“And, you know, there was a preplanned migration of the phones that just happened to be on the same day as the first violent insurrection in American history. So, I am a little dubious of that, so count me a skeptic.”

In response to the subpoena, the Secret Service offered its most detailed explanation of the software migration, indicating that individual agents were tasked with archiving any messages necessary to comply with public records laws. It also noted agents are advised against using text messages to communicate due to security concerns.

“As Director Murray stated on Friday, we have and will continue to pledge our strongest cooperation with the Select committee.  We will share all available information on the agency’s 2021 plans for the device upgrade and make those with firsthand knowledge of the process available,” agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement to The Hill on Tuesday.

“It’s also important to reiterate that any data that may have been purged by this initiative was because of a system upgrade initiated by our IT department and not individual employees.”  

Among those whose messages were missing was Robert Engel, the head of Trump’s security detail on Jan. 6 and the man who White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said Trump “lunged” at when informed he would not be transported to the Capitol that day.

The Secret Service is facing harsh criticism over the deleted texts, with the National Archives saying the agency needs to conduct an internal investigation into the matter. 

The inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), however, told the Secret Service to stop its internal investigation after the DHS launched a criminal probe into the deleted texts. 

“I will tell you this, that everybody who has tried to hide a fact and hide the truth from this committee has gotten his or her comeuppance, because there are other people coming forward to tell the truth all the time,” Raskin told Colbert.

Updated 2:00 p.m.

Tags Jamie Raskin Jamie Raskin Jan. 6 committee Secret Service Trump
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