The congressional panel investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol says it uncovered a trove of Secret Service documents after the agency faced backlash for deleting messages between agents.
Members of the January 6 committee said Wednesday that they had recently obtained radio traffic recordings, text messages and other evidence from the Secret Service after pressing the agency over the summer for information. While tight-lipped about the contents of the documents, committee members said they provided new information on the deadly Capitol attack as the panel seeks to wrap up its work.
“It’s a combination of a number of text messages, radio traffic, that kind of thing. Thousands of exhibits,” Representative Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who chairs the committee, told reporters, according to Bloomberg.
Saying committee staffers are reviewing the documents, Thompson didn’t reveal if the information included text messages from January 5 and 6, which have been reportedly lost or erased.
California Representative Zoe Lofgren, a January 6 committee member, Wednesday told MSNBC‘s Nicolle Wallace that the committee is still seeking additional testimony from Tony Ornato, a Secret Service official who was reportedly with then-President Donald Trump as the Capitol riot unfolded. Ornato, who has since resigned and secured private counsel, has previously spoken with the committee behind closed doors.
“We will do that in an orderly fashion when we have had an opportunity to review the large amount of documentary evidence that has now come in from the Secret Service,” Lofgren said. “It’s important that we get that information reviewed before we reinterview him.”
Assembled to examine the lead-up to the January 6 riot, the committee has recently turned its attention to the possible role Trump and his allies played in Trump supporters’ ransacking of the Capitol as Congress was certifying the 2020 presidential election.
Best known for protecting the president, the Secret Service came into focus when former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified to the committee. She testified that Ornato told her that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limousine after his security detail refused to take him to the Capitol as the mob was storming the building.
The Secret Service attracted more attention in July after an inspector general told Congress the agency had improperly deleted text messages being sought by the government watchdog. The House January 6 committee has also requested text messages sent between agents from January 5 and 6.
“We have and continue to fully cooperate with the January 6 Select committee,” Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told Newsweek in an email. “While no additional text messages were recovered, we have provided a significant level of detail from emails, radio transmissions, Microsoft Teams chat messages and exhibits that address aspects of planning, operations and communications surrounding January 6th.”
Lofgren, a Democrat, said committee rules prevented her from saying too much but stated some of the new information is “very pertinent.”
“There’s texts, there’s e-mails, there’s radio track, there’s all kinds of information. So, we’re going through everything that’s been provided. More is coming in. As I say, some of it is not relevant and some of it is. And it’s a huge slog to go through it, but we’re going to go through it. And the members of the committee themselves have been involved in this. And we hope to have that completed soon.”
Newsweek has reached out to the January 6 committee for comment.
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