Politics

Jan 6 Committee subpoenas Secret Service amid texting controversy

“The select committee is seeking relevant text messages, as well as all after-action reports that have been released in all USSS divisions regarding or in any way related to the events of January 6, 2021,” the president said. Bennie Thompson in a letter accompanying the summons.

Committee members from the DHS briefing said they were awaiting details on whether the inspector general would be able to obtain any of the missing messages.

“We want to get the Secret Service texts that happened on the 5th and 6th and we want to get the IG’s perspective on what he thought was going on,” Thompson told reporters on Friday.

The Secret Service rejected any suggestion of inappropriate actions. A spokesperson said Thursday that the missing messages were attributable to an agency-wide phone upgrade that was underway before the agency’s inspector general requested access.

Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi noted that the Secret Service provided more than 700,000 Jan. 6-related emails and thousands of internal communications to investigators.

The select committee’s frustration with the Secret Service has grown in recent weeks. Part of his conflict with the agency stems from the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide to Trump, who described interactions with senior Secret Service officials on Jan. 6.

Hutchinson said he learned from one of those officials, Tony Ornato, of a physical altercation between Trump and his secret service chief, Robert Engel, that day. Ornato had been seconded to the White House and then served as Trump’s appointed deputy chief of staff.

Hutchinson said Ornato portrayed Trump angry when the president was told he would not be allowed to join supporters on Capitol Hill for security reasons. Trump lunged for the steering wheel of the car and then for Engel’s throat, Hutchinson recalled, telling him Ornato. Engel watched Ornato describe the altercation and did not contradict any of the details, Hutchinson said.

But shortly after Hutchinson concluded his testimony, unnamed sources told multiple news outlets that Engel and Ornato would be prepared to contradict Hutchinson’s account of the incident under oath. So far, this sworn testimony has not taken place.

Politico

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