Watchdog to DOJ: Secret Service 'likely' broke federal criminal law by deleting text messages

A well-known non-partisan federal government accountability watchdog has filed a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, calling for an investigation into the Secret Service deleting text messages, saying it “likely” broke federal criminal law. The deletions reportedly occurred on messages sent between January 5 and 6, 2021, the day before and of the insurrection.

“It is extremely troubling to think that the Secret Service would destroy key evidence in any investigation, let alone one that is central to getting answers and accountability for the unprecedented attack on our democracy that occurred on January 6, 2021,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Chief Counsel Donald Sherman said in a statement.

The letter, dated Monday, is addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“The Federal Records Act requires that agencies like the Secret Service preserve records so that there is a complete and accurate history of the government’s actions and decisions,” Sherman added. “It is especially distressing to see such behavior from a federal agency that had such critical duties during the attack on the Capitol and had a front row seat to former President Trump’s behavior that day. The Justice Department must take this apparent violation of federal law seriously.”

The Secret Service has offered differing explanations for the deletions.