Jan. 6 texts of Trump Defense officials wiped clean by Pentagon, court filing shows

Aerial view of the United States military headquarters, the Pentagon.

Jason Reed | Reuters

Text messages received and sent by top Pentagon officials who were part of the Trump administration on Jan. 6, 2021, have been wiped from their government-issued phones, according to a federal court filing that cites statements by the Defense Department and Army.

The text messages from that day — when a mob of Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol — “were not preserved, and therefore could not be searched,” according to that filing.

The filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., was a joint status report from lawyers involved in a lawsuit by the watchdog group American Oversight against the Defense Department and Army, which seeks records related to Jan. 6 from a group of former Pentagon officials.

That report was filed in March.

But it came to light Tuesday as American Oversight asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to open an investigation into the Pentagon’s “failure to preserve the communications, which included those of former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller and former Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, from Jan. 6,” the group said.

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