The Secret Service handed over a trove of electronic communications surrounding the January 6 insurrection to the House select committee ahead of the panel’s likely final hearing on Thursday, which will reportedly reveal more evidence of what President Trump knew about the violence that day and when he knew it.
The panel intends to highlight findings from over a million pages of records recently handed over by the Secret Service to illustrate that the former president was not only warned about the violence as it was unfolding that day, but that he also helped stoke it, despite being aware of the risk, according to the Washington Post.
The committee will reportedly share new video footage to corroborate previous accounts of that day, including that of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified back in June that Trump was briefed that his supporters were preparing for violence.
While the Secret Service records will be a key feature of Thursday’s hearing, obtaining data from the agency has been a news cycle of its own. As has been previously reported, over the course of its investigation the congressional committee has asked several federal agencies, including the Secret Service, to turn over all written correspondences that were sent on or around January 6, 2021. But in response to the requests, several agencies admitted that they’d deleted all the text messages from that day in either planned data transfers or as part of standard protocol for outgoing employees. Experts can’t agree if the lack of oversight was part of a cover-up or just negligence, but they do agree that the messages shouldn’t have been deleted.
The Secret Service in particular has taken steps to prevent future slip-ups and meet Congress’s demands. This week, the Secret Service shared over one million pages’ worth of written correspondences, including information that the committee didn’t request—excluding, of course, the text messages.
“We have and continue to fully cooperate with the Jan. 6 select committee,” Secret Service spokesperson Steve Kopek told NBC News. “While no additional text messages were recovered, we have provided a significant level of details from emails, radio transmissions, Microsoft Teams chat messages and exhibits that address aspects of planning, operations and communications surrounding Jan. 6.”
One of the Secret Service documents handed over to the panel reportedly shows that between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. ET that day, Secret Service supervisor Ronald L. Rowe emailed Bobby Engel, then head of Trump’s security detail, warning him that the protest was becoming unruly and anxiously enquired about whether Trump still planned to go to the Capitol. He then urged Engel to call him.
During her public testimony, Hutchinson provided her under oath account of what she witnessed and heard from others about Trump’s behavior that day. Most notably, she told the panel that then-White House Deputy Chief of Staff Anthony Ornato relayed a story to her in which Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent after he was told they wouldn’t take him to the riot as it unfolded.
But some anonymous Secret Service sources have since tried to poke holes in her story, telling the Washington Post and other news outlets that Ornato and Bobby Engel, former leader of Trump’s security detail, have disputed that any altercation occurred in the vehicle. Neither Ornato nor Engel have confirmed or denied the account up until this point.