(CNN)Key House Democrats have issued a new call for the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general to recuse himself from a probe of missing Secret Service text messages after a CNN exclusive report showed investigators knew for more than a year texts had been erased.
House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson reiterated their call for Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to step aside in a letter on Monday, citing concerns about “your lack of transparency and independence, which appear to be jeopardizing the integrity of a crucial investigation run by your office.”
Maloney and Thompson also are demanding transcribed interviews with key DHS IG staffers. CNN first reported that DHS inspector general investigators dropped efforts to recover missing Secret Service text messages in July 2021, a year before Cuffari raised concerns about Secret Service and DHS transparency to congressional oversight committees.
“The Committees have obtained new evidence that your office may have secretly abandoned efforts to collect text messages from the Secret Service more than a year ago,” the letter said. “These documents also indicate that your office may have taken steps to cover up the extent of missing records, raising further concerns about your ability to independently and effectively perform your duties as Inspector General (IG).”
The committees are requesting a slate of communications and documents by Monday, ranging from correspondence related to any decisions not to collect or recover text messages to communications related to notifying Congress.
Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, on Monday reiterated his call for the Justice Department to investigate the missing text messages.