January 6 texts from Trump defense officials erased by Pentagon

Aerial view of the United States military headquarters, the Pentagon.

Jason Rose | Reuters

Text messages received and sent by senior Pentagon officials who were part of the Trump administration on January 6, 2021 were erased from their government-issued phones, according to a Federal Court filing that cites Defense Department statements and the army.

Text messages from that day – when a crowd of Trump supporters swarmed the US Capitol – “have not been preserved and therefore could not be traced”, according to this filing.

The document states that Department of Defense and Army officials said, “When an employee separates from [Department of Defense] or the military, he hands over the government-issued phone and the phone is erased.”

The filing in the United States District Court in Washington, D.C., was a joint status report from attorneys involved in a lawsuit filed by watchdog group American Oversight against the Department of Defense, Army, National Guard and the Department of Justice. This lawsuit targets files related to January 6 from a group of former Pentagon officials.

The status report was filed in March.

But it appeared on Tuesday as American Oversight asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to open an investigation into “the Pentagon’s failure to preserve communications, which included those of former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller and former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, from January 6 “, said the group.

In its letter to Garland, the group noted that the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security is currently conducting a criminal investigation into the deletion of the January 6 text messages from the cellphones of Secret Service agents and officials.

“The apparent deletion of records beginning Jan. 6 by multiple agencies reinforces the need for an interagency investigation into the possible destruction of federal records,” Heather Sawyer, executive director of U.S. Oversight, wrote to Garland.

“We therefore urge you to exercise your authority to take control of the investigation into the
purported deletion of records, as requested by [Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois]and also investigate [Department of Defense] for the same conduct – deleting or destroying records that were previously stored on the mobile devices of such officials, including any text messages (or messages on similar apps, such as Signal or WhatsApp) regarding the agency’s activities on January 6, 2021,” Sawyer wrote.

Last week, the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot revealed video testimony from Miller, in which the former acting defense secretary contradicted the ex-president. donald trump‘s claims he had requested that at least 10,000 National Guard troops be deployed to Washington by Jan. 6.

“I never received any direction or orders or knowledge of any plans of this nature,” Miller said in his testimony. “There was no order from the president.”

A public House committee hearing on July 21 focused on the fact that Trump for 187 minutes on January 6, 2021, took no action to stop the attack on the Capitol by his supporters.

“Within 15 minutes of leaving his rally, Trump knew the Capitol was under attack. But what has he done? He went to his dining room, turned on the television and watched the murderous insurrection he caused in real time as entertainment,” Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-California.tweeted during the hearing.

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