The Department of Homeland Security requested texts from 24 members of the US Secret Service.
The list includes Robert Engel, Trump’s chief agent, and James Murray, the head of the agency.
The Secret Service has been accused of deleting relevant text messages related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Two of the Secret Service agents whose text messages were requested by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security are the head of the protective division of former President Donald Trump and the head of the United States Secret Service, The New reported. York Times Thursday.
Robert Engel, Trump’s lead agent, and James Murray, the outgoing Secret Service director, who will be leaving for a new role at Snapchat on July 30, are two of 24 agents whose messages were sent from December 7, 2020 to January 8, 2021. requested as part of an Inspector General’s inquiry into the agency’s response on Jan. 6, 2021, and the messages of which could not be found.
Last week, the Inspector General warned the Parliamentary Committee on 6 January about the missing messages. The agency has sent one text message to the select committee and insists they are cooperating with the investigation.
It’s unclear what prompted Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to look up the phone records of those 24 agents around the time of Jan. 6, The Times reported.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, previously told the House Committee investigating the insurgency that when Trump demanded that his protection detail take him toward the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Engel lunged at Engel in an attempt to grab the steering gear. the wheel of the car when he was told they couldn’t go to the Capitol.
On Wednesday evening, DHS’s deputy inspector general asked the Secret Service to stop searching for deleted text messages sent by agents around the time of the uprising, so as not to “disrupt an ongoing criminal investigation,” according to the letter that CNN first hosted on Thursday.
“To ensure the integrity of our investigation, the USSS should not undertake any further investigative activities related to the collection and preservation of the evidence referenced above,” said Deputy Inspector General of the Homeland Security Department, Gladys Ayala, in a statement. letter to the secret service. Service, The Times reported. “This includes immediately refraining from interviewing potential witnesses, collecting devices, or taking any other action that would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.”
The Jan. 6 House Select Committee subpoenaed the agency on July 15 after Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari accused the agency of deleting relevant text messages.
In a July 13 letter to the commission, Cuffari claimed that the messages were only erased after the OIG requested that the Secret Service agent’s communications be turned in during an investigation into the Capitol attack.
The agency said a “three-month pre-planned system migration” caused the data to be lost, according to Committee chair representative Bennie G. Thompson in a letter announcing the subpoena.
Removing evidence could be a violation of the Federal Records Act, Insider’s Lloyd Lee reported Wednesday.
The agency also added that it cannot retrieve messages to hand over to the committee.
In a statement emailed to Insider, communications chief Anthony Guglielm said: “The Secret Service has received the letter from the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security. We have notified the January Select Committee of the request of the Inspector General and will conduct a thorough legal review to ensure that we are fully cooperating with all oversight efforts and that they are not in conflict.”
The Department of Homeland Security and the Jan. 6 House Select Committee did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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