Examining communication evidence from that day is essential as the committee hearings on January 6 proceed.
However, a rumor making the rounds today claims that the communications from that day were deleted from the phones of then-President Trump and other top officials.
There are ongoing discussions on who wiped the phones and why.
CNN presents one side, which reads:
“The Defense Department wiped the phones of top departing DOD and Army officials at the end of the Trump administration, deleting any texts from key witnesses to events surrounding the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, according to court filings.
The acknowledgment that the phones from the Pentagon officials had been wiped was first revealed in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit American Oversight brought against the Defense Department and the Army.
The watchdog group is seeking January 6 records from former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, former chief of staff Kash Patel, and former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, among other prominent Pentagon officials — having filed initial FOIA requests just a few days after the Capitol attack.
Miller, Patel, and McCarthy have all been viewed as crucial witnesses for understanding the government’s response to the January 6 Capitol assault and former President Donald Trump’s reaction to the breach.
All three were involved in the Defense Department’s response to sending National Guard troops to the US Capitol as the riot was unfolding. There is no suggestion that the officials themselves erased the records.
The government’s assertion in the filings that the officials’ text messages from that day were not preserved is the latest blow to the efforts to bring transparency to the events of January 6. It comes as the Department of Homeland Security is also under fire for the apparent loss of messages from the Secret Service that day.
Miller declined to comment. Patel and McCarthy did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Defense Department did not immediately respond to CNN’s request. The US Army Public Affairs media relations chief, Col. Cathy Wilkinson, said in a statement that, “It is our policy not to comment on ongoing litigation.”
American Oversight is now requesting that the Justice Department launch a “cross-agency probe” into the materials’ deletion.
According to Heather Sawyer, executive director of American Oversight, “It’s just astounding to believe that the agency did not understand the importance of preserving its records — particularly [with regards] to the top officials that might have captured: what they were doing when they were doing it, why they were doing, it on that day,”
Patel Patriot, however, had a different viewpoint, which he shared on We Love Trump.
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
The website states his claim is that “as Devolution was rolled out it needed to be protected and insulated and that wiping the phones was an essential step to stop the black hats.”
The website gives excerpts from his Substack:
“This article will outline one of Trump’s key executive orders that I truly believe spells out that we are no doubt in the middle of some sort of Continuity of Government plan that I believe to be a plan of devolution. I briefly touched on this executive order in Devolution – Part 3, but it deserves its own article and detailed breakdown.