Two top House Democrats alleged that there is evidence of a cover-up in the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general investigation into deleted U.S. Secret Service messages related to the Capitol riot, Axios reports. House Oversight chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Homeland Security chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) urged Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to "step aside" and demanded his office provide documents and interviews, citing emails indicating his staff may have tried to stop efforts to obtain the Secret Service messages. These include deputy inspector general Thomas Kait writing to a DHS official on July 27, 2021, "please use this email as a reference to our conversation where I said we no longer request phone records and text messages from the USSS relating to the events on January 6th."
Thompson and Maloney allege they learned that Kait "removed key language" from a February memorandum to the DHS that "highlighted the importance of text messages" to the inspector general's investigation and criticized the department for not complying with the December 2021 request on text messages. The letter highlights tensions between the Trump-appointed Cuffari and House Democrats after news of the missing Secret Service text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, emerged last month. The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, which Thompson also chairs, has subpoenaed the Secret Service, and Cuffari has launched a criminal investigation. Cuffari told Politico that while protocols can prevent him from publicly responding "to untruths and false information about our work ... I am so proud of the resilience I have witnessed in the face of this onslaught of meritless criticism."