Secret Service Provides A Single Text Message To Jan. 6 Committee

The Secret Service has presented just a single text message to the Jan. 6 House Committee following a subpoena that requires the production of all communication the day before and the day of the Capitol attacks, according to a letter obtained by multiple outlets.

The request was made by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General Joseph Cuffari on Friday night, with the committee being brief on the matter shortly before the issuing.

The singular text message was given to the committee Tuesday, the deadline of the subpoena that could be crucial in helping to piece together how government leaders and agents acted during the violent riot that shook the country to its core.

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According to Secret Service Assistant Director Ronald Rowe, the text message is from a conversation between former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to former Secret Service Uniformed Division Chief Thomas Sullivan, who was “requesting assistance” on Jan. 6.

Speaking to MSNBC, California Rep. Zoe Lofgren — a member of the committee —  said she hadn’t seen the lone message yet, but that they will be “pursuing more information as a committee soon.”

In addition to the singular piece of evidence, the Secret Services also failed to present their diligence in the matter. “In their letter they gave no indication that they have secured the phones in question and done some forensic work with them. That’s something we want to know,” Lofgren said.

“This obviously… doesn’t look good. Coincidences can happen but we really need to get to the bottom of this and get a lot more information than we have currently.”

It’s the latest lack of cooperation by the Secret Service, which has repeatedly dodged multiple requests for electronic communication. According to CNN, Cuffari had asked for the messages of 24 Secret Service personnel in June of last year, while a second request from several committee members came in March.

The agency explained it was up to personnel to preserve records on their phones, and claimed messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 of 2021 were erased as part of a pre-planned, three-month “device-replacement program” that began on Jan. 27, 2021.

Though the Secret Service said it was working to see if any relevant communication was lost in the replacement program, it is “currently unaware of text messages issued by Secret Service employees” requested by the DHS that “were not retained.”

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A CNN report shows Congress informed the Secret Service of the need to preserve and later produce records relating to the Jan. 6 attacks on Jan. 16, 2021, and again on Jan. 25, 2021, two days before the phone migration began.

The lack of records, mixed with the untimely reasons why such data would be unavailable, has led to Cuffari suggesting to the committee that the Secret Service purposely deleted the messages following the request.

In a response, Secret Service Chief of Communications Anthony Guglielmi called the accusation of the agency “maliciously [deleting] text messages following a request” as “false.”

Guglielmi also stated the agency has been “fully cooperative” with the DHS’ requests — “whether it be interviews, documents, emails, or texts.” “We are taking all feasible steps to identify records responsive to the subpoena, to include forensic examinations of agency phones and other investigative techniques.”

Biden Orders Release Of Trump White House Visitor Logs To Jan. 6 Committee

President Joe Biden has ordered the release of Trump White House visitor logs to the House committee conducting investigations into the riot of Jan. 6, 2021, once again rejecting former President Donald Trump’s claims of executive privilege.

In a letter sent to the National Archives Wednesday, White House counsel Dana Remus stated that Biden has given the agency instructions to hand the logs — which show all White House visitor information on the day of Jan. 6 — over to the committee.

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Remus explained that Biden came to the decision that an assertion of executive privilege is “not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified,” and that the majority of entries that the former President exercised executive privilege over would be publicly released under current policy.

“As practice under that policy demonstrates, preserving the confidentiality of this type of record generally is not necessary to protect long-term institutional interests of the Executive Branch.”

Remus added that the Biden administration regularly discloses visitors logs on a monthly basis, with exceptions, as did the Obama administration. The National Archives had given the documents to the current administration in late January, afterwhich Trump blocked the visitor logs from public view.

The letter states that “in light of the urgency of the Select Committee’s need for the information,” the documents are to be given 15 days after Trump is notified, “unless prohibited by court order.” It’s currently not known how detailed the logs are, or what use they will be to the committee.

As CNN detailed, the logs are made up of information of visitors who made an appointment to the White House, but the extent of which they can reveal the inner workings of the House are limited. Anyone without a permanent pass must provide personal information along with details of the visit, processed by Secret Service.

However, there are loopholes for how information can become unknown and eschewed. If the visitor additionally meets with other officials or enters another building than the one they were originally visiting, that wouldn’t show up on the logs. Meanwhile, if a visitor doesn’t appear at the scheduled time — or at all — the visitor and entry would still be recorded for the original date and time.

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The Associated Press notes that Trump had been extremely precautious with documentations during his presidency. He took some administration records to his Mar-A-Lago Resort in Florida, alarming historians and archivists.

According to AP, Trump and his officials could also face additional legal trouble if there is any evidence of White House documents — which are protected by the Presidential Records Act established in 1978 — being tampered or mishandled. Depending on the actions, prison sentences can range from three to five years.

When turned over the to committee, the logs will not be made public, and no timeline has been given for when they will be made public. Instead, Resmus noted they will be initially declared as “national-security sensitive” (NSS) or “otherwise-highly sensitive,” (OHS). Personal information  — such as birth dates and social security numbers — will be redacted, while the committee cannot share any of the documentation without prior consultation.

Mother And Son Arrested For Theft of Laptop During Capitol Riots

The FBI has arrested Watertown, New York residents Maryann Mooney-Rondon, 55, and her son, Rafael Rondon, 23, for their connections in the theft of a laptop during the Capital attack on Jan. 6.

A press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York stated that the pair appeared in federal court Friday in Syracuse, New York, and were released pending further proceedings.

In addition to theft of government property, the pair also face other charges in regards to the Capitol riot. These include entering and remaining in a restricted Capitol building or certain rooms, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of an official proceeding.

Only the obstruction of an official proceeding is classified as a felony, with the others being misdemeanors.

The younger Rondon also faces charges for an unregistered sawed-off shotgun, of which a maximum sentence carries up to 10 years of prison time and a fine of $250,000.

According to the Associated Press, while the pair weren’t the ones to have physically stolen the laptop, Mooney-Rondon had assisted in the theft by providing her gloves or a scarf to the perpetrator of the laptop, so as to not leave any fingerprints.

“He asked, he said, give me – I don’t know if it was gloves or a scarf I was wearing – and like I said he scared me,” the documents quotes her [Mooney-Rodon] as saying.

Rodon then claimed to FBI agents that he assisted the man in sliding the laptop into his backpack with the gloves or scarf, which the young man said was “probably stupid” of him. The two then went into the Senate gallery, and proceeded to leave after seeing it was flooded with protesters.

The man that Mooney-Rodon and Rodon assisted has not yet been identified.

Numerous media outlets had reported that the laptop belonged to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. While the laptop was taken from Pelosi’s conference room, these reports were false as it was later clarified that the laptop did not belong to Pelosi. The only purpose of the staff-owned laptop was for presentations.

Pelosi’s actual laptop was claimed to be stolen by 22-year-old Harrisburg, Pennsylvania resident Riley Williams. Williams was arrested two weeks following the riot after boasting of stealing the laptop on social media and reportedly planning on selling it to Russian security services.

However, Pelosi’s laptop was not found in Williams’ possession, and it is currently unknown if it was ever recovered by the FBI.

The FBI’s search for Mooney-Rodon and her son created quite a stir for a number of parties involved. As the Associated Press notes, the FBI had raided the business of Paul and Marilyn Hueper in Homer, Alaska back in April, believing they were the ones who had assisted in the laptop theft.

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The Huepers had been in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 for the Trump rally that preceded the attack, but did not partake in the breaching of the Capitol. The raid was a case of mistaken identity as the women involved had similar features in photos during that time, such as coats and hairstyles.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Hueper said that while it’s a relief this ordeal is over, she’s concerned about the power the FBI holds that lets them disturb innocent people due to their “poor investigative skills and aggressive tactics,” while also not showing concern for the messy trail they leave behind.

In the 10 months since the capitol riot that was labeled by FBI Director Christopher Wray as “domestic terrorism,” over 668 people have been arrested on countless charges similar to the ones the Mooney-Rodon family is facing.

However, despite the takeover being extremely documented, many violators still have yet to be identified by law enforcement.

Social Media Apps on iPhone

CEO’s Of Google, Facebook, And Twitter To Testify In Front Of Congress On Misinformation

This marks the first time the chief executives of Facebook, Google, and Twitter will be appearing before lawmakers since the Capitol riots and Covid-19 vaccine distributions.

Capitol Rioters Using Trump As An Excuse In Court 

While Donald Trump himself was recently acquitted by the Senate for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, after being the first president to be impeached by the House twice, his supporters aren’t finding themselves so lucky. In fact, attorneys for at least seven of the rioters have referenced Trump in efforts to explain their clients actions. 

Matthew Ryan Miller was photographed discharging a fire extinguisher on the steps of the Capitol during the riot. At his hearing this past Tuesday, his attorney claimed that “his client was there at the behest of then-President Trump. Mr. Miller concedes he was on the Capitol grounds to protest along with thousands of other protesters and was merely following the directions of then-President Trump, the country’s chief law enforcement officer, and other speakers to march to the Capitol.”

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Defense attorney for accused Proud Boys member Ethan Nordean wrote in a filing that Trump “egged on” his client. Dominic Pezzola, another accused Proud Boy, claimed that he was “duped and just responding to the entreaties of the then commander in chief.” 

Randy Zelin is a criminal defence attorney who claims that these attorney’s strategies are similar to an “advice of counsel” defense. “The tactic argues that a defendant couldn’t have had criminal intent if they were acting on advice from their attorney. Although Mr. Trump isn’t an attorney, there is a notion that if someone who makes the laws tells you what to do, someone could argue they had no intention to break the law.”

Zelin continued to explain that “The president of the United States telling you that it’s OK to do something or telling you to do something — that destroys your intention, your intent to commit a crime, because the president is telling you it’s OK. Basically, the argument is ‘I had no knowledge that I was breaking the law because I was told by the president of the United States to go ahead and do it.'”

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Harry Litman is a former US attorney who, on the other hand, claimed blaming Trump in court would be extremely difficult for these accused rioters. “The ‘Trump made me do it’ defense is a real long-shot, legally, but the move could still be smart because it may create sympathy with jurors, and may even require Mr. Trump to be subpoenaed — a major logistical obstacle that could slow down a case and force prosecutors to drop to lesser charges,” Litman explained. 

At least one defendant has so far attempted to distance himself from the former president during his trial to argue that he can safely be released from jail. Christopher Ray Grider’s attorney released a memo that claimed his client “no longer cared about politics or who the President is.” 

Documents charging Kenneth Grayson show a social media post in which Grayson wrote “”I’m there for the greatest celebration of all time after Pence leads the Senate flip!! OR IM THERE IF TRUMP TELLS US TO STORM THE F***N CAPITAL IMA DO THAT THEN!”

Derrick Evans, a former lawmaker in West Virginia, has an official complaint filed against him that cites a tweet from Trump with the caption “This is why we are going to DC #StopTheSteal.” 

While Trump himself has avoided conviction for a second time by the US Senate after being impeached twice by the House, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed he was voted to be acquitted based on a constitutional limit of impeachment, not because Trump wasn’t to blame for the riot.

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House Voting On Resolution Calling On Pence To Invoke 25th Amendment 

The House is gearing up to vote on a resolution this Tuesday that would call on current Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office following last week’s riot at the Capitol building that the current standing president helped insurrect. 

The measure that the House is introducing claims that Pence should convene and mobilize Trump’s Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment and declare the president “incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting president.” The resolution itself is sponsored by Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin. 

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A mob of hundreds of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building last week after Trump made a speech further emphasizing his belief that Biden won the 2020 election illegally and that this was one of the most “fraudulent elections in US history.” The crowd of angry rioters then stormed the Capitol building after Trump ended his speech claiming that they would be walking to the Capitol to make their voices heard; the president was nowhere to be found once the riot began though. 

The six-page resolution stated that the mob of rioters “threatened the safety and lives of the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the President pro tempore of the Senate, the first three individuals in the line of succession to the presidency, as the rioters were recorded chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence’ and ‘Where’s Nancy’ when Trump tweeted to his supporters that ‘Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country.’”

The measure also lays out a slew of evidence that Trump incited his supporters to commit acts of violence at the Capitol building, as the president has “demonstrated repeatedly, continuously and spectacularly his absolute inability to discharge the most basic and fundamental powers and duties of his office.” 

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Trump’s disrespect over the 2020 election and democratic process within the past two months is also mentioned quite a bit in the measure, as his complete disinterest in participating in a peaceful transition of power has only further motivated his supporters to “take back the White House” and give it to Trump, as that’s who they believe rightfully won the election. 

Pence is unlikely to remove Trump from office, especially considering House Democrats have also introduced articles of impeachment against the president that could likely be passed before inauguration. Sources close to Pence also claim that at this point he’s just trying to make it to January 20th “in one piece.” 

According to senior White House officials Pence and Trump met in the Oval Office on Monday morning in which they discussed the past four years and the attacks on the Capitol building. They apparently both said that those who broke the law and stormed the building “don’t represent America.” 

The House is projected to vote this Wednesday on an article of impeachment that would charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection” in motivating his supporters to storm the Capitol last week and fight. If passed the Senate will then hold a trial to determine whether or not Trump should be convicted and will potentially eliminate his ability to run for office again. 

US Capitol Building

90 People Have Been Arrested So Far In Relation To The Capital Riots

Around 90 people are facing charges currently that range from misdemeanor curfew violations, to felonies related to assaulting police officers, making death threats, and damaging federal property. Arrests are far from over as well.