Top Democrats Accuse Homeland Security Watchdog of Blocking Testimony in Jan. 6 Inquiry

WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security’s inside watchdog, who’s below criticism for his dealing with of an investigation into lacking Secret Service textual content messages across the time of the Capitol assault, is refusing to cooperate with congressional calls for, even blocking his workers from testifying earlier than Congress, two high Democrats stated on Tuesday.

Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, and Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, despatched a letter to Joseph V. Cuffari, the Homeland Security inspector basic, demanding that his office adjust to their requests for paperwork and transcribed interviews.

“You have refused to produce responsive documents and blocked employees in your office from appearing for transcribed interviews,” the letter stated. “Your obstruction of the committees’ investigations is unacceptable, and your justifications for this noncompliance appear to reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of Congress’s authority and your duties as an inspector general.”

The conflict is the most recent growth surrounding lacking textual content messages from round Jan. 6, 2021, that had been despatched and obtained by Secret Service brokers and later erased. It is unclear what the deleted messages stated or what number of are lacking, however congressional panels are scrutinizing what brokers had been saying and doing as President Donald J. Trump insisted on becoming a member of a crowd of his supporters on the Capitol after mob violence started that day.

Mr. Cuffari claims that the Secret Service hampered his investigation into the matter, whereas congressional committees accuse him of failing to adequately perform an inquiry.


Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 Hearings

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Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 Hearings

Making a case towards Trump. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault is laying out a complete narrative of President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Here are the principle themes which have emerged so removed from eight public hearings:

Adding to Congress’s concern: deleted textual content messages associated to the Capitol assault from high Homeland Security and Defense Department officers in the Trump administration. Defense officers have stated that some telephones of Trump administration officers had been “wiped” after they left their authorities jobs.

Mr. Cuffari’s office equally performed a so-called iPhone refresh in June, when workers had been instructed to wipe their units and determine which textual content messages needs to be saved. The inspector basic’s office didn’t instantly reply to questions on whether or not Mr. Cuffari preserved any related textual content messages in the course of the course of.

Senator Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan and the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, despatched letters final week to Mr. Cuffari, the Homeland Security secretary and the departing Secret Service director, requesting extra details about the deleted communications and the method for preserving federal information.

Mr. Cuffari instructed Congress final month that Secret Service textual content messages from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, had been erased, suggesting that it occurred as half of a tool alternative program. He has stated these whose messages had been lacking included brokers who had been half of Mr. Trump’s safety element.

The inspector basic additionally directed the Secret Service to halt its inside seek for purged texts in order that it could not “interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.” The company has turned over the personal cellphone numbers of brokers as half of that inquiry, in keeping with an individual aware of the matter.

But Ms. Maloney and Mr. Thompson stated that Mr. Cuffari’s office had delayed telling Congress concerning the lacking messages for months and severely hampered an inside investigation into the matter. His office “may have taken steps to cover up the extent of missing records,” they stated.

The lawmakers have known as on Mr. Cuffari to recuse himself from the investigation, a requirement he has refused. They have additionally known as for 2 officers in his office to testify.

Ms. Maloney and Mr. Thompson stated Mr. Cuffari despatched them a letter on Aug. 8 “refusing to acknowledge any failures in the adequacy and timeliness” of his notification to Congress.

“You gave no indication that you would step aside from the investigation, raising the prospect that the inquiry could be further compromised,” the lawmakers wrote. “You also refused to provide any documents responsive to our request and/or allow your staff to be interviewed, stating, ‘We do not authorize our staff to sit for transcribed interviews with your committee about these ongoing matters.’”

They warned Mr. Cuffari that they’d “consider alternate measures to ensure” his compliance. While Ms. Maloney and Mr. Thompson weren’t particular about these potential steps, they might subpoena paperwork and testimony.

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