Former impeachment lawyer and White House ethics czar Norm Eisen speculated whether there were Secret Service agents who are part of Donald Trump’s plot to overthrow the government.
Here we go @cnn to discuss the mystery of the Secret Service.
Are there a few bad apples in there who are co-conspirators in Donald Trump‘s possible obstruction of justice and witness tampering?
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) July 17, 2022
Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Eisen said that his questions go deeper than just the text messages but about the alliances that the law enforcement agents have with the former president.
“I think that the questions have a larger significance than just whether texts were lost or not,” he began. “I’m more concerned that after Cassidy Hutchinson testified, after the blockbuster testimony about Donald Trump’s anger that he couldn’t go to the Capitol, that some in the Secret Service seem to be part of an anonymous whisper campaign disagreeing with her story. Mr. [Anthony] Ornato, Mr. [Bobby] Engel. And then you find out there have been other witnesses who have come forward and pushed back on that, including a member of the MPD. And now we find out that documents may be missing from the critical days of the 5th and the 6th.”
He went on to explain that the committee should be looking into possible legal issues and obstruction of justice charges.
“Was there any intentional effort to obstruct justice here as part of Donald Trump’s Secret Service agents being too close to Donald Trump? We don’t know the answer, but that needs to get a hard look from the service, from congress, and from the Department of Justice,” he said.
Eisen went on to say that he thinks the committee will get to the bottom of what happened and that the DOJ will take a deeper look into a pattern of behavior. That will likely include “the Secret Service agents who may have been a little too close to Mr. Trump. Were they part of an effort to intimidate Cassidy Hutchinson? We need answers on the lost documents and on the behavior of these individuals.”
See the panel discussion below:
Image: Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
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Embattled Trump-Appointed DHS Inspector Was Given Phones of Secret Service Agents in July, Raising ‘New Questions’: Report
Senior Secret Service leadership confiscated the cell phones of 24 agents and handed them over to the embattled Trump-appointed Inspector General of the Dept. of Homeland Security as he was launching his criminal investigation into the deleted text message scandal. The Secret Service, DHS, and former Trump officials at the Pentagon have been under fire after the IG, Joseph Cuffari, belatedly revealed texts from January 5 and 6, 2021, had been deleted.
“The agency handed over the phones ‘shortly after’ a July 19 letter was sent by Inspector General Joseph Cuffari’s office,” NBC News reports.
“The revelation that Cuffari’s office has had access to the phones since late July or August raises new questions about the progress of his criminal investigation into the missing text messages and what, if anything, the public may be able to learn about communications between agents on Jan. 6, 2021,” NBC adds.
Cuffari reportedly learned in December of 2021 that the cell phones of Secret Service agents directly involved in protective operations on the day of the insurrection, had been wiped and text messages deleted. He did not report this to Congress until July of 2022, despite his staff taking action.
CNN, however, has reported Cuffari actually learned of the deleted texts in May of 2021, which if accurate would mean he waited more than a year to inform Congress. Nor did he inform the National Archives, which is required by law to retain those records.
Cuffari has been seen by some as covering for Trump loyalists. His own staff is calling for his firing.
“Department of Homeland Security (DHS) watchdog staff recently called on President Joe Biden to remove their boss, Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, according to a blistering letter obtained by the Project On Government Oversight,” POGO reported last week. “‘The highest priorities of an inspector general are integrity and independence,’ states the letter. ‘IG Cuffari and his inner circle of senior leaders have fallen short in these areas time and time again.'”
In April of 2021 The Washington Post reported Cuffari “blocked investigations proposed by career staff last year to scrutinize the [Secret Service’s] handling of the George Floyd protests in Lafayette Square and the spread of the coronavirus in its ranks, according to documents and people with knowledge of his decisions.”
Noted political scientist Norman Ornstein, who sits on the POGO board, in late July called the situation a “coverup of treason.”
POGO, he wrote, “has been calling for a long time for the resignation of DHS IG Joseph Cuffari. He sat on the information of missing texts from the top DHS ‘acting’ officials, put there by Trump to do his bidding. Stinks to high heaven. Coverup of treason.”
DOJ Demands Return of Emails Peter Navarro Sent From Private Account for Government Business
The Department of Justice is seeking a court order to compel Peter Navarro to return government documents he took after leaving the Trump administration.
Investigators are seeking the return of emails he sent while working on the White House coronavirus response, which they say were sent from a private account for government business to discuss ventilators, activating National Guard units, and the use of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment, reported CNN.
“There is no genuine dispute of fact that Dr. Navarro used at least one unofficial email account to conduct official business, that those records are the property of the United States, and that Dr. Navarro has refused to return the records to the United States. Indeed, his counsel has expressly admitted as much,” wrote Justice Department lawyers.
“Because Dr. Navarro remains in possession of property that belongs to the United States,” the lawyers added, “this Court should issue a writ of replevin requiring Dr. Navarro to return what he wrongfully continues to possess.”
The National Archives discovered the emails were missing after the DOJ sued Navarro earlier this year in a records dispute related to a House investigation.
No ‘Semblance of a Campaign’: Five of Trump’s Candidates for Governor Air Zero TV Ads Combined
Former President Donald Trump’s picks for governor in five states are facing media scrutiny after failing to air a single television advertisement since winning their primaries.
In a report on Monday, The New York Times revealed that Pennsylvania candidate Doug Mastriano “is being heavily outspent by his Democratic rival, has had no television ads on the air since May.”
“There’s no sign of cavalry coming to his aid, either: The Republican Governors Association, which is helping the party’s nominees in Arizona, Michigan and six other states, has no current plans to assist Mr. Mastriano, according to people with knowledge of its deliberations,” the paper added.
Matt Brouillette, the president of a conservative advocacy group, slammed Mastriano in remarks to the Times.
“I can’t even assess things because I don’t see a campaign,” Brouillette said. “I’ve not seen anything that is even a semblance of a campaign.”
According to the report, Mastriano’s lackluster campaign is not unusual among Trump’s preferred candidates.
“Along with Mr. Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Trump-backed candidates for governor in five other states — Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Michigan — have combined to air zero television advertisements since winning their primaries,” the report said.
Over the weekend, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) vowed to campaign against Mastriano and other Trump-endorsed candidates who push lies about the 2020 presidential election.
“I think we have to do everything we can in ’22 to make sure those people don’t get elected,” she told the Texas Tribune Festival. “We have to make sure [Doug] Mastriano doesn’t win.”
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