DHS inspector general meets with Jan. 6 committee about deleted Secret Service texts

Afterward, one member told ABC News the panel is determined to track them down.

July 18, 2022, 12:52 PM

The Department of Homeland Security inspector general met with members of the Jan. 6 committee behind closed doors on Friday amid revelations about deleted Secret Service texts from the day before and the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The meeting comes after Inspector General Joseph Cuffari earlier this week sent a memo to the committee notifying them the Secret Service had deleted text messages from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021.

After Friday's meeting, members called for transparency, with Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., telling ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott, "We need to get to the bottom of it, but if those texts are gone, we are determined to find them.

"We just don't know where the texts are. We don't know whether the texts have vanished or not vanished. We don't know what the context was for their vanishing if they did vanish -- we just don't know," he said. "But we're going to get to the bottom of it and we're going to make a full report to the American people."

Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said lawmakers still don't know if there are more messages missing beyond those from Jan 5 and 6.

"We're not sure. The IG indicated that they had made a significant request for information. And obviously, since he was not able to get it -- we just really don't know," Thompson said.

Thompson said it's "obvious" the Secret Service is not being cooperative.

PHOTO: Cassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol, June 28, 2022.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol, June 28, 2022.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

In earlier testimony, former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson alleged she was told then-President Donald Trump physically assaulted members of his Secret Service detail when they declined to take him to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

A source close to the Secret Service does not dispute the former president demanded to go to the Capitol just after his rally on the Ellipse that day.

PHOTO: A video of then-President Donald Trump speaking is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Washington, June 23, 2022.
A video of then-President Donald Trump speaking is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, June 23, 2022.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The Secret Service, in a lengthy statement on Thursday night, blasted the inspector general's letter to the committee.

"The insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously deleted text messages following a request is false," Anthony Gugliemi, the agency's chief of communications, said in a statement. "In fact, the Secret Service has been fully cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) in every respect -- whether it be interviews, documents, emails, or texts."

Gugliemi said that in February 2021, the Secret Service began to reset its mobile phones to factory settings as part of a previously planned, three-month system migration. In that process, data resident on some phones was lost, he said.

The DHS inspector general did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment.

Cuffari, a Trump administration appointee, has not been without controversy himself. His critics have claimed that his office has not been as aggressive in investigating certain allegations of misconduct within Homeland Security -- criticism he's flatly denied.

ABC News' Katherine Faulders, Rachel Scott and Allison Pecorin contributed to this report.

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events