'A pattern of conduct to destroy federal record': CREW urges DOJ to probe missing Jan. 6 texts
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) on Friday filed a complaint with Department of Justice demanding “a broad investigation into the destruction of federal records by government officials involved in the response to the January 6th insurrection and efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”
The complaint comes on the heals of the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last Monday. During that search, the FBI seized “11 sets of classified documents” including four marked top-secret, according to the Washington Post.
In the complaint, addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, CREW argues “a growing body of evidence suggests a pattern of conduct in multiple agencies to destroy federal records.”
“The Secret Service reportedly erased text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, despite a request from DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to preserve and share copies of the text messages,” CREW wrote in its complaint. “Subsequent reporting revealed that text messages of then-acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and then-acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli were also deleted for a key period leading up to January 6th.”
Noting the texts of key Pentagon officials were also destroyed, CREW General Counsel Adam Rappaport said, “It is now clear that the problem of deleted text messages and other records is not limited to the Secret Service and DHS.”
“These agencies and individuals played key roles before, during, and after the January 6th insurrection, as reinforced by testimony provided the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol,” the complaint reads, adding, “without question the deleted text messages were federal records under the definition adopted by the 2014 amendments to the Federal Records Act.”
“The violent insurrection of January 6 and the sustained efforts by a former president to overturn the results of a valid election have seriously eroded public trust in government and placed our democracy on shaky ground,” the complaint concludes. “To restore that credibility there must be full accountability for those who perpetrated acts of violence and insurrection."
“The Department of Justice should take immediate and thorough action to determine the extent of the problem, hold accountable those responsible for destroying critical records, and determine whether these records can be recovered,” Rappaport said.
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