The Secret Service deleted text messages scandal just got bigger— and more suspicious. Turning over just one out of thousands of records requested, The Washington Post now reports that the two top security officials at the Department of Homeland Security have missing data from the same requested time period – leaving more questions than answers for the DHS.
“Text messages for former President Donald Trump’s acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli are missing for a key period leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to four people briefed on the matter and internal emails” reports Post journalists Carol Leonning and Marchia Sacchetti.
The Washington Post reported:
“The Department of Homeland Security notified the agency’s inspector general in late February that Wolf’s and Cuccinelli’s texts were lost in a ‘reset’ of their government phones when they left their jobs in January 2021, in preparation for the new Biden administration.”
Phone records for Wolf and Cuccinelli in the days preceding the insurrection could provide further insight into the former President’s instructions and behavior.
According to The Post. “Trump had been pressuring both men to help him claim the 2020 election results were rigged,” and, on New Year’s Eve 2020, Trump tried to convince Cuccinelli that it was his “job” to seize voting machines at the order of DHS Secretary Wolf.
Trump pressured the acting deputy by telling him, “you’re not doing your job.”
The delusional former President insinuated the machines could be used to “re-run” the election.
Dept. of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari asked for electronic communications from members of the Secret Service in February 2021 – a month after the pre-planned data reset. Informed in December of last year that thousands of messages were erased in the process, Cuffari didn’t alert the committee investigating the evens of Jan. 6 until mid-July.
It’s a move that isn’t sitting well with the investigative panel.
“It is extremely troubling 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 includes Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, who were running DHS at the time,” Chair of the House Select Committee Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), wrote in a statement.
Thompson blamed the Inspector General for potentially costing the panel access to valuable information:
“It appears the DHS Inspector General has known about these deleted texts for months but failed to notify Congress. If the Inspector General had informed Congress, we may have been able to get better records from Senior administration officials regarding one of the most tragic days in our democracy’s history,” Thompson said.
Wolf resigned five days after a Trump-supporting mob stormed the Capitol, criticizing his former boss’ delay in curbing the violence “I was disappointed that the President didn’t speak out sooner on that,” he said.
In 2020, both acting secretary Wolf and acting deputy Cuccinelli were found ineligible to serve in their positions by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The GAO reported that the order of succession wasn’t followed.
The deletions of text messages among senior security officials at the Secret Service — and now the Department of Homeland Security — raises concerns about a potential coverup. While the U.S. Secret Service has denied any intentional wrongdoing, this is all coming to light as the Department of Justice and the House Select Committee investigation closes in on top government officials and Trump himself seems less like a coincidence than a conspiracy.
Original reporting by Carol Leonnig and Maria Sacchetti at The Washington Post.
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