Before it was instructed to halt its investigation last week, the United States Secret Service found records of deleted text messages on or around January 6, 2021, stored on the phones of at least 10 agents.
Secret Service investigators discovered metadata showing that text messages were sent and received on at least 10 agents’ phones in the days surrounding the Capitol riot – but have since been deleted, according to CNN.
Investigators were then working to determine whether the content of these texts contained information about the attempted insurrection, and whether they should have been preserved amid an ongoing House investigation into the riot, two unnamed sources told the network.
Among the text records the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General requested were those of the heads of the detail for both former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence: Bobby Engel and Tim Giebels, respectively.
It’s unclear whether they are included among the 10 personnel whose phones contained metadata showing records of deleted texts.
But among the 24 Secret Service members that were originally under scrutiny by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General, sources told CNN, 10 other members had no text messages around that time and three others only had personal messages.
The deletion of the messages has raised the prospect of lost evidence that could shed further light on then-President Donald Trump’s actions during the insurrection, particularly after testimony about his confrontation with security as he tried to join supporters at the Capitol.