The Jan. 6, 2021, text messages of two Department of Homeland Security leaders during Donald Trump’s final days as president are missing, The Washington Post reported, citing four unnamed sources and email records.
The government phones of Chad Wolf, former acting DHS secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, an acting deputy secretary, reportedly were “reset” when they left the government in January 2021, wiping their texts.
The DHS Office of Inspector General was notified of the missing texts in February, but failed to inform Congress and made no efforts to recover the records, the Post reported.
This is not the first time Joseph Cuffari’s office has been criticized for withholding information from congressional lawmakers. Cuffari reportedly knew that Secret Service agents deleted almost all text messages from Jan. 6, 2021, for months, but did not tell lawmakers until recently.
The chair of the House Jan. 6 committee called the deletions “troubling.”
“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,” committee Chair Bennie Thompson (R-Miss.) told the Post in a statement.
The missing texts could have helped the panel’s efforts to piece together the events leading up to Jan. 6.
“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 continued.
Cuccinelli was interviewed by the committee in December. He was involved in Trump meetings related to efforts to overturn the election, according to CNN.
The New York Times has reported that Trump instructed his lawyer Rudy Giuliani to call Cuccinelli and inquire about seizing voting machines. Cuccinelli reportedly told Giuliani that DHS did not have the authority do so.
The committee has contacted Wolf, The Associated Press reported.
The latest revelation of missing texts comes as the committee has been zeroing in on Trump’s Cabinet. The panel reportedly interviewed Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s treasury secretary, and Mick Mulvaney, a former White House chief of staff and special envoy to Northern Ireland who resigned following the insurrection.
The committee also is negotiating with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a closed-door interview that could happen as soon as this week, CNN reported.