US Capitol Riot Panel Expects to See Secret Service Texts

VOA News FILE – A U.S. Secret Service officer takes his position as then-President Donald Trump’s motorcade arrives at the White House, in Washington, Nov. 8, 2020.

Washington — The U.S. congressional panel probing the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 of last year expects to be able to look at text messages sent by Secret Service agents from the day before the mayhem and as it unfolded, a member of the investigative committee said Sunday.

“We expect to get them by this Tuesday,” Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren told ABC’s “This Week” show. “We need all of the texts from the fifth and sixth of January.”

The riot unfolded as about 2,000 supporters of then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, stormed into the Capitol to try to block Congress from certifying that Democrat Joe Biden had won the 2020 election. The certification of the Electoral College vote showing Biden had turned back Trump’s reelection bid was delayed for hours as the rioters scuffled with police, vandalized the Capitol building and ransacked congressional offices.

Lofgren said the investigative committee needs the Secret Service texts “to get the full picture” of what occurred before and during the Capitol insurrection. The Secret Service said last week that some phone data was lost during a routine reset of iPhones, but that all the requested texts had been saved.

“I was shocked to hear that they didn’t back up their data before they reset their iPhones,” Lofgren said. “That’s crazy, and I don’t know why that would be, but we need to get this information.”

“We went into it trying to do our job. We were assigned the task as a committee of uncovering all of the facts about the sixth and all of the events leading up to the sixth so that we could report on that,” Lofgren said. “We hope to do it in a way that is accessible to all Americans.”

The Secret Service said last week that any “insinuation” that it intentionally deleted texts was false and that the committee had its “full and unwavering cooperation.”

The texts could be relevant to understanding how Trump berated his security detail about its refusal to drive him to the Capitol after he finished speaking at a rally near the White House, and just ahead of the time in the early afternoon when the first of the rioters breached the Capitol as lawmakers were starting to certify Biden’s victory.

Witnesses testifying before the committee and police radio communications show that Trump demanded to join his supporters at the Capitol but that his Secret Service detail refused to take him there out of fear for his safety in a volatile situation.

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