Here’s a timeline of how the Secret Service text messages became one of the key questions for the House committee as it prepares for the next phase of its probe into the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
It’s still unclear whether the Secret Service received the guidance. A source familiar with the investigation told CNN the Secret Service tried to find it last week but could not.
January 27, 2021: The Microsoft Intune phone migration begins, according to the agency’s July 19 letter to the House select committee.
February 26, 2021: DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari requests electronic communications from the Secret Service for the first time, according to agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. “DHS OIG requested electronic communications for the first time on Feb. 26, 2021, after the migration was well under way. The Secret Service notified DHS OIG of the loss of certain phones’ data, but confirmed to OIG that none of the texts it was seeking had been lost in the migration,” Guglielmi said in a July 14, 2022, statement.
April 1, 2021: The Intune migration is completed, according to the agency’s letter.
May 2021: The Secret Service notifies the DHS inspector general of missing text messages related to the phone data migration issue, according to sources. The agency tells Cuffari’s office the Secret Service tried to contact a cellular provider to retrieve the texts when they realized they were lost, a source told CNN.
Key personnel at the Secret Service erroneously believed the data was backed up and didn’t realize it was permanently lost until after the data migration was completed, the source said.
June 11, 2021: The DHS inspector general requests text messages “sent or received by 24 Secret Service personnel during the period of December 7, 2020 through January 8, 2021.” CNN has previously reported that the heads of Trump’s and Pence’s security details are among the 24 individuals.
July 2021: A DHS deputy inspector general tells DHS that the inspector general’s office is no longer seeking the text messages from the Secret Service, according to two sources.
December 2021: The DHS inspector general reopens his inquiry into the Secret Service text messages. According to the letter House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney and Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson sent last week calling on Cuffari to recuse himself from the probe, the inspector general’s office was told by the Secret Service that text messages had been erased. A DHS source told CNN Cuffari’s office was again notified of the data loss.
In early February, according to reporting from the Washington Post, staff at Cuffari’s office planned to contact all DHS agencies offering to have data specialists help retrieve messages from their phones. But later that month, the Post reports that Cuffari’s office decided it would not collect or review any agency phones.
In late February, according to the Washington Post, Cuffari learned that text messages for the top two DHS officials under the Trump administration were missing, and that they had been lost in a reset of their government phones when they left their jobs in January 2021.
Also on July 19, the National Archives sent a letter to DHS demanding a report documenting any improper deletion of text messages.
July 28, 2022: Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the missing messages from the lead-up to January 6. The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment.