The US Congressional panel that investigated the US Capitol riots on January 6 last year hopes to see the text messages sent by Secret Service agents from the day before the chaos and how they developed, a member of the investigative committee said Sunday. .
“We look forward to seeing you this Tuesday,” Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren told ABC’s “This Week” show. “We need all the texts from January 5 and 6.”
The riot unfolded when some 2,000 supporters of then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, stormed 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 that showing that Biden had rejected Trump’s re-election bid was delayed for hours as rioters brawled with police, vandalized the Capitol building and looted congressional offices.
Lofgren said the investigative committee needs the Secret Service texts “to get a complete picture” of what happened 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 all requested texts had been saved.
“I was surprised to hear that they didn’t back up their data before resetting their iPhones,” Lofgren said. “That’s crazy, and I don’t know why, but we need to get this information.”
“We went into this trying to do our job. We were tasked as a committee to find out all the facts about the sixth and all the events leading up to the sixth so 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 removed text was false and that the committee had its “full and unwavering cooperation.”
The texts may be relevant to understanding how Trump berated his security team for their refusal to take him to Capitol Hill after he finished speaking at a rally near the White House, and just before the afternoon hour when the first of rioters stormed the Capitol as lawmakers began to certify a Biden victory.
Witnesses who testified before the committee and police radio communications show that Trump demanded to join his supporters on Capitol Hill, but that his Secret Service detail refused to take him there out of fear for his safety in a volatile situation.
One witness, Cassidy Hutchinson, then a senior aide to Mark Meadows, the last Trump White House chief of staff, testified to a secondhand account she heard that Trump tried to grab the wheel of his limousine to head to Capitol Hill, though the Secret Service has disputed his account.
In what could be its last public hearing, the committee will hear testimony Thursday night about what Trump was doing for three hours and 17 minutes between the time he finished his rally speech and holding, as he does to this day. today, that he was cheated out of another four-year term in the White House, and the time he released a short video telling protesters on Capitol Hill to leave the building.
Witnesses have already said that Trump watched the insurrection unfold on television, while ignoring pleas from his aides and his daughter Ivanka, a White House adviser, to publicly tell the rioters to disperse.
At one point, according to inside accounts of his comments during the riots, Trump expressed his approval of protesters chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” The then-vice president had refused to accede to Trump’s demands to return election results to legislatures in states he narrowly lost so that pro-Trump voters could replace Biden’s official voters.
In the United States, presidents are effectively chosen in separate elections in each of the 50 states, not through the national popular vote. Each state’s number of votes in the Electoral College depends on its population, with the largest states having the most influence.
Trump eventually told the rioters, “I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. But you have to go home now; we have to have peace. We have to have law and order; we have to respect our great people in law and order.”
In another tweet sent later, he said: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been mistreated and unjustly for so long. Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever!”
After rioters were evicted from the Capitol, lawmakers certified in the early hours of January 7, 2021, that Biden had won the election by a 306-232 margin in the Electoral College, and two weeks later he was sworn in as the 46th president. from the country. .