Newly revealed emails show Secret Service was warned about Jan. 6 threat to Pence — but failed to act
Mike Pence (Photo by Ryan Kelly for AFP)

Newly revealed emails show the U.S. Secret Service received urgent warnings that vice president Mike Pence's life was in danger from right-wing extremists.

Communications obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington show that in the days before January 6, 2021, the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies were concerned that Donald Trump supporters planned to bring weapons to the U.S. Capitol with the intention of causing violence. But the watchdog group said the agency did not appear to take the threat seriously.

“It’s gonna get violent as we charge the federal buildings and drag out corrupt politicians dead or alive!” read one post shared with the Secret Services and other agencies before the insurrection, while another clearly specified their chief target: “F*ck pence sellout traitor we better see him coming out that building in handcuffs or were [sic] going in.”

The National Capital Region Threat Intelligence Consortium circulated those threats in messages and during a January 4, 2021, conference call alerting the Secret Service, FBI, Capitol police and Metropolitan police department to the likelihood of violence surrounding pro-Trump demonstrations on the day Congress certified Joe Biden's election win.

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The Secret Service was explicitly warned the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and III Percenters were threatening violence, along with neo-Nazi groups such as Atomwaffen and Storm Front, but they noted “there is no indication of civil disobedience."

"These documents show government law enforcement receiving clear warnings of the violence bound for DC on January 6," CREW wrote. "The Secret Service was fully aware that the Trump supporters coming posed a real threat of violence, particularly against Mike Pence, including the possibility of an assault on the Capitol. What they do not show is why the Secret Service downplayed the danger and threats of violence on January 6."

The Secret Service has faced growing pressure after it was revealed that the agency deleted agents' text messages sent during the January 6 attack.

Joseph Cuffari, the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, told Congress in July that his office had difficulties obtaining records from the Secret Service from January 5 and 6, 2021.

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The messages could be crucial to the House of Representatives and Justice Department investigations into whether Trump and his close advisors encouraged the deadly insurrection by the former president's supporters at the US Capitol, which aimed to prevent the certification of Democratic rival Joe Biden as the winner of the November 2020 election.

Secret Service agents were with Trump during the day of the uprising, and were also with Pence, who went into hiding at the Capitol after pro-Trump rioters called for him to be hanged.

On June 29 a former White House staffer told the House January 6 investigation that Trump had attempted to force the Secret Service to take him to the Capitol to join his supporters on that day.

"The Department notified us that many US Secret Service (USSS) text messages, from January 5 and 6, 2021, were erased as part of a device replacement program," Cuffari wrote in the letter first reported by The Intercept and later published by Politico.

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"The USSS erased those text messages after OIG requested records of electronic communications" for a review of January 6, he said, referring to the Office of the Inspector General.

In addition, he said, the department has stalled on providing other records to the OIG.

In a statement, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi rejected the inspector general's allegation.

He said the agents' phones were being wiped as part of a planned replacement program that began before the OIG requested the information six weeks after the insurrection.

With additional reporting by AFP

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