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Jan. 6 Updates: Secret Service Text Messages, an "Unhinged" White House Meeting, and Bannon Trial Set to Begin

The latest updates in the ongoing investigation into the events that took place at the US Capitol on January 6th.
Jan. 6 Updates: Secret Service Text Messages, an "Unhinged" White House Meeting, and Bannon Trial Set to Begin

Text messages sent and received by Secret Service agents around the time of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol last year have been erased, an inspector general said on Thursday, prompting concern from the House committee investigating the assault, according to The New York Times.

Secret Service Text Messages Around Jan. 6 Were Erased, Inspector General Says (The New York Times)

Excerpt from The New York Times: The inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency of the Secret Service, reported that many of the agents’ texts were erased as part of a device replacement program even after the inspector general had requested them as part of his inquiry into the events of Jan. 6. Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, said he received a letter on Thursday from the inspector general informing him of the erased text messages. "It’s concerning," Mr. Thompson said. "It’s important for us to get as much information about how this discrepancy occurred." In a statement, the Secret Service disputed parts of the inspector general’s findings, saying that it "lost" data on "some phones" as part of a preplanned three-month "system migration" in January 2021, but maintaining that no texts pertinent to the inquiry "had been lost in the migration."
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In related news, former President Trump's White House counsel Pat Cipollone described a Dec. 18 meeting in the White House as "unhinged" during a clip of a closed-door interview shared by the Jan. 6 select committee during Tuesday's public hearing, writes Axios.

Pat Cipollone describes "unhinged" Dec. 18 White House meeting (Axios)

Excerpt from Axios: Cipollone testified that an outside group pushing election conspiracy theories, including election lawyer Sidney Powell and Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, exhibited a "general disregard for backing what you actually say with facts." The meeting, which lasted roughly six hours, included two groups of Trump advisers "trading insults, accusations of disloyalty to the president and even challenges to physically fight," the Jan. 6 committee said on Tuesday. Cipollone also recalled saying that "the idea that the federal government" could seize election voting machines "is a terrible idea." Cipollone recalled telling Powell, "I don't understand why we even have to tell you why that's a bad idea, it's a terrible idea for the country." 
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And in another related story to Jan. 6, former Trump White House aide Steve Bannon has again asked a federal judge to delay his upcoming trial on criminal contempt charges, this time citing repeated references to some of his past comments during a hearing Tuesday of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, writes CNBC.

Former Trump aide Steve Bannon cites Jan. 6 Capitol riot hearing in seeking delay of criminal contempt trial (CNBC)

Excerpt from CNBC: Bannon’s lawyers also said in a court filing Wednesday that "the defense learned just today" that CNN will air a one-hour documentary on Bannon on Sunday evening, the day before his trial for contempt of Congress is set to begin in Washington, D.C. Defense attorneys said that both events create "the very serious risk of prejudice here" against Bannon among jurors to be selected for his trial on charges of willfully refusing to comply with subpoenas issued by the Jan. 6 House panel demanding documents and his testimony. "There is just nothing magic about July 18th [the trial’s scheduled start date] that can possibly justify the risk to Mr. Bannon’s fundamental" constitutional rights to a fair trial, the lawyers wrote to Judge Carl Nichols.
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Judge Nichols said the trial would begin with jury selection on Monday, as he rejected a second Bannon request to push back the start date. The judge agreed with the Justice Department that 14 jurors who have not watched the hearings, read coverage about them, or viewed media about Bannon could be found in DC next week, writes CNN. "Mr. Bannon still in my view has not shown further delay" would be needed to seat an unbiased jury, federal Judge Nichols said Thursday.

Judge again rejects Bannon trial delay request but opens door to possible new defense argument (CNN)

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