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Crucial texts between Trump and top DHS officials leading up to Jan. 6 deleted

Former acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

Enlarge / Former acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. (credit: Pool / Pool | Getty Images North America)

“Protestors are literally storming the Capitol. Breaking windows on doors. Rushing in. Is Trump going to say something?”

This text from White House correspondent Michael D. Shear to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is one of thousands preserved from the January 6 attack on the Capitol showing that when the trouble started, people with power immediately turned to their phones to do what they could to stop it.

There are many more deleted texts, though, that would have shown how former President Donald Trump acted before the attack and how he responded to urgent requests to de-escalate the violence in the middle of it. First, the Secret Service confirmed in December 2021 that thousands of their texts were deleted in an agency-wide phone reset. Now, The Washington Post reports that senior Department of Homeland Security officials—acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli—also lost text messages from that day, blaming a government phone reset that happened during the transition to the Biden administration in January 2021.

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