Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman suggested one of the reasons that the Secret Service might want to intentionally delete evidence of Jan. 5 and 6 in a panel discussion ahead of the eight public hearing from the House Select Committee.
Akerman harkened back to the story of Vice President Mike Pence refusing to get into the Secret Service vehicles on Jan. 6 as they were in the holding location. According to testimony from his chief of staff, Marc Short, Pence told his chief of security that he trusted him, but that he wasn't driving the car. The presumption is that Pence didn't trust the agent driving the car.
According to Short, Pence didn't want the attackers to witness the vice president fleeing the Capitol and think that they had won. On Sept. 11, 2001, the Secret Service whisked the vice president to Air Force Two and put him in the air where he was presumably safe from threats. It's unclear if that was the procedure here, as Secret Service doesn't comment on procedures.
"As a Watergate prosecutor you're no stranger to the fact there can be the bad guys inside government, even at high levels, in fairness, many Secret Service agents are out there daily risking their lives," prefaced MSNBC host Ari Melber. "They will take a bullet, and a lot of Americans appreciate that. On the other hand, it's the DHS itself, their bosses -- it's not me saying this -- it's the DHS saying it looks like there might be crimes inside the Secret Service. Why might they go that far?"
Akerman explained that the goal of the attackers on Jan. 6 was to stop the House and Senate from counting the votes that would certify Joe Biden as the president. The question becomes: was the Secret Service in on the coup plot? Was that why Pence didn't want to get into the car and be driven away?
"If the ultimate goal was to stop the Electoral College count to get Vice President Pence out of the Capitol, get him as far away as possible so the count couldn't go on that night, that is what the Secret Service would want to cover up big time, if that's what happened. And we do know there's a guy, Tony Ornato, who was a Secret Service agent who Trump basically put in a political position in the White House who was right in the middle of what was going on that day."
Melber recalled Jeffrey Clark, who Trump tried to install at the Justice Department to announce that the election was a fraud. It begs the question of whether Trump similar installed Tony Ornato to do work on his behalf. He also noted that it's clear the Secret Service needs to get rid of some "bad apples."
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