House leaders demand interviews with Homeland Security watchdog over Secret Service 'cover up': report
Secret Service guard near The White House, Washington D.C. / Shutterstock.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that House investigators want to speak with the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, alleging a "cover-up" about the Secret Service's missing text messages about the January 6 attack.

"The leaders of the powerful House Oversight and Homeland Security committees wrote a letter to Inspector General Joseph Cuffari on Monday, detailing the urgent need for interviews with his staff regarding new evidence of alleged efforts to cover up the erasure of Secret Service communications," reported Farnoush Amiri. "'We are writing with grave new concerns over your lack of transparency and independence, which appear to be jeopardizing the integrity of a crucial investigation run by your office,' House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney and Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson wrote in the letter. They also renewed their calls for Cuffari to recuse himself from investigations of the erased texts."

Thompson also chairs the House Select Committee on January 6.

"The committee said it has obtained evidence that shows the inspector general's office first learned of the missing Secret Service text messages, as part of its investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol, in May 2021. And that emails between top DHS IG officials show the agency decided to abandon efforts to recover those text messages in July 2021, nearly a year before they first informed Congress they were erased," said the report. "'These documents raise troubling new concerns that your office not only failed to notify Congress for more than a year that critical evidence in this investigation was missing, but your senior staff deliberately chose not to pursue that evidence and then appear to have taken steps to cover up these failures,' the letter continued."

This comes after a recent report that the inspector general's office abandoned a plan in February to try to retrieve the missing text messages. It also comes as high-ranking Secret Service officials come under scrutiny over their ties to former President Donald Trump.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) has separately said he would like Secret Service officials to explain under oath how the text messages, which are supposed to be protected federal records, came to be deleted in the first place.