August 02, 2022

Durbin: Justice Department Must Take Over Investigation of Missing Text Messages from Trump's Homeland Security Leadership and Secret Service in Lead Up to January 6 Insurrection

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, continued his calls for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the missing text messages from former President Donald Trump’s Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, as well as Secret Service officials, in the lead up to the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.  Last Friday, Durbin sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to step in, take over the investigation that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General Joseph Cuffari has reportedly opened, and get to the bottom of what happened to these text messages and hold accountable those who are responsible.

“The last several days have brought a stream of troubling revelations about the disappearance of Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security text messages from around the time of the deadly January 6, 2021, insurrection on this Capitol.  The missing texts could provide critical evidence about one of the worst crimes and greatest threats to our Constitution ever perpetrated in America,” Durbin said.  “The disappearance of this critical information could jeopardize efforts to learn the full truth about January 6 and hold responsible anyone who planned and participated in that attack.  I don’t know whether the failure to preserve these critical government texts from January 6 is the result of bad faith or stunning incompetence.  But I do know that the man who has overseen the investigation of this fiasco is not the right person to continue leading it.  This man has lost whatever credibility he may have once had on this matter.  That is why I’ve asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to step in and take control of this investigation into the missing texts.”

Durbin went on to note that IG Cuffari initially did not press DHS to explain why they did not preserve these records, did not seek ways to recover the lost data, and did not notify Congress about the missing text messages.

“This month, after news of the missing texts became public and his office came under criticism, Mr. Cuffari belatedly opened a criminal investigation into the Secret Service’s missing text messages.  It was the right thing to do.  But he’s the wrong person to do it.  Mr. Cuffari has lost his credibility.  The same law that allows Mr. Cuffari to conduct this criminal investigation, the Inspector General Act, gives to the Attorney General of the United States the power to take control of it.  It’s time for Attorney General Garland to step in and oversee this investigation with impartial professionalism that justice and history demand,” Durbin concluded.

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here. 

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.

-30-