Aug 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House Dems say watchdog stonewalling inquiry into Secret Service texts

Bennie Thompson

Bennie Thompson, chair of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attacks, on June 28. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Two top House Democrats alleged on Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general has refused to cooperate with, and even hindered, an investigation into deleted U.S. Secret Service messages related to Jan. 6, and called for him to comply with congressional demands.

Why it matters: This is not the first time that the duo, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House oversight panel, and Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the Homeland Security and Jan. 6 select panel, have questioned Inspector General Joseph Cuffari's part in the probe.

The big picture: In a letter to Cuffari on Tuesday, Maloney and Thompson called on his office to comply with congressional requests for documents and interviews.

  • They noted that Cuffari had previously blocked his staff from sitting for transcribed interviews.
  • Maloney and Thompson recalled several instances in which Cuffari had failed to properly report information to Congress regarding the missing text messages.

What they're saying: "Your obstruction of the Committees’ investigations is unacceptable, and your justifications for this noncompliance appear to reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of Congress’s authority and your duties as an Inspector General," they wrote.

  • "If you continue to refuse to comply with our requests, we will have no choice but to consider alternate measures to ensure your compliance," the letter added.

What's next: Cuffari must provide all requested documents and ensure employees requested for interviews are made available by Aug. 23.

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