Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner is calling for a “criminal investigation” into the U.S. Secret Service‘s deleted text messages, revealing that the agency’s forensic experts are “even better than” the FBI’s Quantico lab at retrieving data like deleted text messages.
“I am not fully buying an innocent explanation,” Kirschner, who was a federal prosecutor for nearly three decades, told Zerlina Maxwell on her MSNBC on Peacock show Wednesday.
Kirschner notes that “cell phone providers will purge text messages over time,” but says, “what’s gotten me, got me so sort of frustrated and a little bit angry,” is when “I was a federal prosecutor at the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office, and we obtained evidence – cell phone evidence, and it looked like the target, the owner of that cell phone had deleted information off of it, you know where we went to have a forensic search and a recovery of deleted information taken from those cell phones? We went to the United States Secret Service Forensic Sciences Division, because they are the premier unit.”
“I’m going to say even better than the lab down at Quantico, the FBI lab. They are the premier unit that can recover deleted information off of cell phones and computers,” he explains.
“I am hugely concerned these text messages should have been preserved in the first instance. They should be turned over to authorities, whether congressional or law enforcement authorities, they should be backed up. They should still be retrievable.”
“If they did nothing wrong, they should welcome a law enforcement investigation,” Kirschner adds, noting “if they have nothing to be concerned about they should welcome an FBI investigation of how it is that this important, historic evidence was deleted.”
On Thursday he added to his commentary, tweeting: “A criminal investigation should be opened into the destruction of this extremely important evidence.”
The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General notified the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees last week that the U.S. Secret Service erased text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, after the OIG specifically requested them.
Wednesday night new reporting from The Washington Post revealed the Inspector General knew as early as February that the texts had been deleted, but did not notify Congress until July.
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack subpoenaed the Secret Service for the text messages but the agency handed over only one.
“House investigators also learned that the texts were seemingly lost as part of an agency-wide reset of phones on 27 January 2021,” The Guardian reported Wednesday, “11 days after Congress first requested the communications and two days after agents were reminded to back up their phones.”
Watch Kirschner’s remarks below or at this link:
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‘Next Chapter?’ Manhattan DA Signals Trump Himself Might Finally Land Under Indictment
Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg may finally have changed his mind about indicting former president Donald Trump.
The recent conviction of the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg gave a glimpse of evidence that could tie the ex-president directly to the tax fraud scheme, such as a memo he signed approving chief operating officer Matthew Calamari’s illegal request to reduce his taxed salary to cover the cost of his untaxed corporate apartment, reported The Daily Beast.
“We now move on to the next chapter,” Bragg said last week after the company was ordered to pay $1.6 million in penalties for tax fraud.
Trump already asserted under oath in another case in 2021 that he personally oversaw Calimari’s compensation, and prosecutors have checks he signed to cover tuition at a private school for Weisselberg’s grandchildren, whose mother Jennifer Weisselberg has repeatedly told investigators she personally heard Trump discuss the scheme to artificially lower taxed salaries for his executives.
“This case has tentacles,” said Duncan Levin, a former prosecutor who now represents Jennifer Weisselberg and has been communicating with investigators.
The district attorney’s office declined to comment on what Bragg meant about another chapter, but former prosecutors from that office say their experience leads them to believe prosecutors will go after Trump.
“For people who want a certain outcome — to go after Trump — it gives hope,” said Catherine A. Christian, a former assistant district attorney who investigated financial fraud. “They’re going to be thorough. I’m doubtful he would have said ‘next chapter’ if they weren’t looking.”
“It happens all the time with large, complex investigations,” she added.
Prosecutors had hoped to flip Weisselberg or company controller Jeffrey McConney, who was nearly labeled a hostile witness during the Trump Organization trial, but ultimately were unable to get their full cooperation.
“They didn’t flip, and they failed,” said former Manhattan prosecutor Jeff Chabrowe. “They tried to do everything they could, and in the end, they got a truncated thing here where they went after the organization and Weisselberg, and there’s this fine that’s pretty weak.”
‘Final Nail in His Coffin’: Trump’s Taxes Contain ‘Powerful Evidence of Criminal Tax Evasion’
In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime investigative journalist and Donald Trump biographer David Cay Johnston made the case that there is enough evidence of financial fraud in the former president’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020 to indict and prosecute him.
At issue, he noted, are deductions taken for Trump companies — some of which may never have existed.
According to Johnston, the author of “The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family,” he found “powerful evidence of criminal tax evasion,” after reviewing the documents after they were released on Friday morning to the public after years of obstruction from Trump.
“Consider a rich business owner who fabricates deductions but who would still owe zero tax in the audited year even if those deductions were denied. That means an audit that will not generate any tax revenue. That’s also what Trump apparently did in 26 sole proprietor, or Schedule C, filings in the six years of released tax returns,” he wrote before adding, “Trump also turned a profit off a portion of the tax system, making $2.8 million profit off the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT.”
As for those 26 Trump businesses that may or may not exist, Johnston suggested that investigators dig deeper into how the former president used them to get out of paying taxes in the years involved.
“Most glaring in the tax returns is that they include 26 Trump businesses—or imaginary businesses—with zero revenue and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax deductions for expenses,” he pointed out while noting they should be of interest to New York State Attorney General Letitia James, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Unless Trump can produce records showing the expenses are real and meet other standards to be deductible, that’s fraud. That Trump did it 26 times as a candidate and as president is powerful evidence that he qualifies for prosecution by the federal government and New York State for criminal tax fraud,” he wrote before adding the results could lead to a “slam dunk” prosecution.
You can read more here.
Image: Evan El Amin/Shutterstock
Watch: J6 Committee Votes to Send Four Criminal Referrals Against Donald Trump to DOJ
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has voted to send four criminal referrals to the Dept. of Justice, even more than previously expected.
The Committee’s referral says Donald Trump is guilty of: Obstruction of an official proceeding; Conspiracy to defraud the United States; Conspiracy to make a false statement; Inciting, assisting or aiding/comforting an insurrection, as reported by CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Calling the move “a major escalation for a congressional investigation that is the most significant in a generation,” The New York Times reports this is “the first time in American history that Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution,” and “is the coda to the committee’s intense 18-month investigation into Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election that culminated in a violent mob of the former president’s supporters laying siege to the Capitol.”
Watch this historic moment below or at this link.
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— Acyn (@Acyn) December 19, 2022
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