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Justice Department urged to investigate Pentagon deletion of Jan. 6 texts | Attack on the US Capitol

US Attorney General Merrick Garland has been asked to investigate another deletion of text messages and other communications by senior officials on January 6, 2021, this time by the Pentagon.

American Supervision, a impartial watchdog group, uncovered the shock deletion on Tuesday after discovering it through freedom of information requests to the Department of Defense.

The Department of Defense and Army admitted in court filings to American Oversight that senior Trump officials’ phone messages were deleted after the handover of government, including text messages dated Jan. 6, the day of Donald Trump’s deadly attack on Congress.

Similar deletions of notices around January 6 by the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service have already been the subject of considerable controversy.

The Justice Department and the January 6 Committee of the House of Representatives continue to investigate Trump’s attempt to reverse his election defeat.

In an open letter to Garland, said the American regulator: “We urge you to investigate the DoD’s failure to retain the text messages of several senior officials on or about the day of the January 6 attack.”

in its freedom of information inquiryAmerican Oversight requested clearance of communications between senior officials and Trump, his Vice President Mike Pence, his chief of staff Mark Meadows, “or anyone communicating on their behalf on January 6.”

Among the officials whose communications are disputed are former Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller; former Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy; Kash Patel, who was Miller’s chief of staff; Paul Ney, former General Counsel of the Pentagon; and James E. McPherson, formerly General Counsel of the Army.

Heather Sawyer, executive director of American Oversight, told CNN, “It’s just amazing to believe that [the Pentagon] didn’t understand how important it is to keep your records – especially [with regards] to the top officials who may have recorded what they did that day, when they did it and why they did it.”

The Pentagon’s sluggish response to the attack on the Capitol remains the subject of widespread speculation and scrutiny.

Like the New York Times put it last month“The mobilization and dispatch of National Guard troops from an armory just two miles from the Capitol was stalled by confusion, communications blackouts, and concerns about the prudence of sending armed soldiers to quell the insurgency.”

Messages between senior DoD officials and the White House could shed some light on what happened.

On Tuesday Ney said CNN He gave up a phone as he left the Department of Defense on Jan. 20, 2021, the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“I didn’t erase the phone until I handed it in (or ever that I can remember),” Ney said. “When I handed in the phone, I had no idea what would happen to this device, nor do I know what was actually done to this device after I handed it in.

“If the DoD is in litigation alleging that the device was erased after I left the DoD on Inauguration Day, I believe that’s very likely what happened and when it happened, but I don’t know why. “

On Jan. 6, a mob urging Trump to “fight like hell” attacked Congress to try to stop confirmation of Biden’s election victory. Nine deaths have been linked to the riot, including suicides among police officers.

In a series of dramatic public hearings on Jan. 6, the House Committee demonstrated Trump’s role in efforts to undermine the election and fuel the attack on the Capitol.

Garland is under increasing pressure over the January 6 investigation and Trump’s election overthrow. He has promised “To pursue justice without fear or favor”.

In a separate move, the Justice Department on Wednesday sued Peter Navarro, an adviser to Donald Trump, asking for emails from his time in the White House in which he refused to return without being granted immunity.

The lawsuit focuses on Navarro’s use of a personal ProtonMail account for some official White House business. “Mr. Navarro unlawfully preserves presidential records which are owned by the United States and which are part of the permanent historical records of the previous administration,” Justice Department attorneys said in the lawsuit.

The case is unrelated to the contempt of congressional indictment filed against Navarro by the US government in June for his refusal to produce testimony or documents before the House Inquiry Committee on January 6.

Navarro declined a government offer last month to plead guilty to a contempt charge, according to federal prosecutors.

Reuters contributed to the coverage

Justice Department urged to investigate Pentagon deletion of Jan. 6 texts | Attack on the US Capitol

Source link Justice Department urged to investigate Pentagon deletion of Jan. 6 texts | Attack on the US Capitol

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