Raskin says he doesn't buy Secret Service's lost text story

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(The Hill) — Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, said he doesn’t believe the Secret Service’s story regarding the deletion of text messages the panel subpoenaed. 

The committee asked the Secret Service to turn over text messages between agents from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, to see if there was further evidence of former President Donald Trump’s activities leading up to and during the riot. However, the Secret Service was only able to turn over one message, saying the rest were deleted during a device replacement program. 

“I don’t really buy that for one minute,” Raskin said on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” “For one thing, isn’t it a little odd that all of the texts would vanish for Jan. 6th and Jan. 5th? Of all the days, what an odd coincidence that is.” 

“And, you know, there was a preplanned migration of the phones that just happened to be on the same day as the first violent insurrection in American history. So, I am a little dubious of that, so count me a skeptic.”

The Secret Service said agents were told before the migration to flag any content that would be worth saving in the federal records, and agents are encouraged not to communicate through texts frequently due to security concerns. 

“There’s no reason for us to say the texts were lost. I mean, how do you know that those people texted? They were told to upload their official records, and they did. So this is partly what we’re going to communicate to the committee, all of the data that we have. People say texts were lost. How do you know texts were sent?” agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Hill.

The Secret Service is facing harsh criticism over the deleted texts, with the National Archives saying the agency needs to conduct an internal investigation into the matter. 

The inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), however, told the Secret Service to stop its internal investigation after the DHS launched a criminal probe into the deleted texts. 

“I will tell you this, that everybody who has tried to hide a fact and hide the truth from this committee has gotten his or her comeuppance because there are other people coming forward to tell the truth all the time,” Raskin told Colbert.

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