The Secret Service erased text messages from January 5 and January 6, 2021, according to a letter sent to the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack from a Homeland Security watchdog.

“First, the Department notified us that many US Secret Service text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, were erased as part of a device-replacement program. The USSS erased those text messages after OIG requested records of electronic communications from the USSS, as part of our evaluation of events at the Capitol on January 6,” wrote Homeland Security Inspector Gen. Joseph Cuffari in the letter that was initially sent to the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees.

The Secret Service disputed the watchdog’s claims.

“The insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously deleted text messages following a request is false,” Anthony Guglielmi, who serves as chief of communications for the Secret Service, said in a statement. “In fact, the Secret Service has been fully cooperating with the OIG in every respect – whether it be interviews, documents, emails, or texts.”

He added that some messages had been lost as the Secret Service replaced certain devices, but that was after the watchdog had requested records of the electronic communications.

“DHS OIG requested electronic communications for the first time on Feb. 26, 2021, after the migration was well underway,” Guglielmi clarified. “The Secret Service notified DHS OIG of the loss of certain phones’ data, but confirmed to OIG that none of the texts it was seeking had been lost in the migration.”

The Secret Service was implicated in the public hearings as former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that former President Donald Trump made an effort to take the steering wheel in an effort to join his supporters at the Capitol following the “Stop the Steal” rally, but the Secret Service agent Bobby Engel stopped him. Hutchinson also claimed that the Secret Service knew that Trump supporters were armed at the rally.

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