By Steve Neavling
Lawmakers are calling for a new inspector general to head the investigation into deleted Secret Service text messages in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection.
House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, who also chairs the committee investigating the Capitol riots, are asking DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to recuse himself.
In a letter to Cuffari, the top Democrats say his failure to notify Congress that the Secret Service wasn’t providing records “cast serious doubt on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such an important investigation.”
“These omissions left Congress in the dark about key developments in this investigation and may have cost investigators precious time to capture relevant evidence,” the lawmakers wrote. “There must be no doubt that the Inspector General leading this investigation can conduct it thoroughly and with integrity, objectivity and independence. We do not have confidence that Inspector General Cuffari can achieve those standards.”
Cuffari waited months to notify Congress that the messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021 had been erased. Earlier this month, he finally notified Congress of the deleted texts.
“Inspector General Cuffari’s actions in this matter, which follow other troubling reports about his conduct as Inspector General, cast serious doubt on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such an important investigation. In light of these serious failures, we request that Inspector General Cuffari step aside from the ongoing investigation into the Secret Service’s erasure of text messages,” the lawmakers wrote.