Two Democratic lawmakers called for the Department of Homeland Security inspector general to step aside from investigating missing Secret Service phone records, questioning his handling of the probe, the Wall Street Journal reports. Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D., N.Y.) and Bennie G. Thompson (D., Miss.) said Tuesday they were concerned about how long it took Joseph Cuffari to notify Congress about his accusation that the Secret Service erased many text messages from Jan. 6, 2021, the day of the Capitol attack, and the preceding day.
The lawmakers cited reports last week from a watchdog group, the Project on Government Oversight, and the Washington Post alleging the inspector general knew for months that the Secret Service had acknowledged losing some phone data from around the time of the Capitol attack. The Secret Service has blamed the lost data on a previously planned change to reset mobile phones and asserted it didn’t lose any records relevant to the Jan. 6 attack.
“We are writing to express our grave concerns with Inspector General Cuffari’s failure to promptly notify Congress of crucial information while conducting an investigation of the Secret Service’s preparation for and response to the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” Reps. Maloney and Thompson said in a letter dated Tuesday. The Democrats asked the council to facilitate the appointment of a different inspector general to complete the investigation into the Secret Service’s handling of records. The two lawmakers also said their committees have been investigating Cuffari and his office for several years over other matters, including how long it takes for his office to issue reports, reviews of the Customs and Border Protection agency, and allegations of domestic abuse and sexual harassment by DHS employees.