The Intercept has revealed that the Trump-era Secret Service erased text messages from January 5 and January 6, 2021, citing a letter given to the House Select Committee.
According to the report, “the letter was originally sent by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General to the House and Senate homeland security committees. Though the Secret Service maintains that the text messages were lost as a result of a ‘device-replacement program,’ the letter says the erasure took place shortly after oversight officials requested the agency’s electronic communications.”
As noted by the Intercept, “the Secret Service has emerged as a key player in the explosive congressional hearings on former President Donald Trump’s role in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to prevent the 2020 election results from being certified. That day, then-Vice President Mike Pence was at the Capitol to certify the results. When rioters entered the building, the Secret Service tried to whisk Pence away from the scene.”
“I’m not getting in the car,” Pence reportedly told the Secret Service detail on January 6. “If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off.”
Had Pence entered the vice presidential limo, he would have been taken to a secure location where he would have been unable to certify the presidential election results, plunging the U.S. into uncharted waters.
“People need to understand that if Pence had listened to the Secret Service and fled the Capitol, this could have turned out a whole lot worse,” a congressional official not authorized to speak publicly told The Intercept. “It could’ve been a successful coup, not just an attempted one.”
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, of Maryland, a member of the January 6 panel, called Pence’s terse refusal — “I’m not getting in the car” — the “six most chilling words of this entire thing I’ve seen so far.”
FROM THE INTERCEPT:
“Key evidence in the form of the Secret Service’s electronic communications may never see the light of day. The Department of Homeland Security — the Secret Service’s parent agency — is subject to oversight from the DHS Office of Inspector General, which had requested records of electronic communications from the Secret Service between January 5 and January 6, 2021, before being informed that they had been erased.”
“It is unclear from the letter whether all of the messages were deleted or just some. Department officials have also pushed back on the oversight office’s records request by arguing that the records must first undergo review by DHS attorneys, which has delayed the process and left unclear if the Secret Service records would ever be produced, according to the letter.”