Democrats are focusing once again on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General Joseph Cuffari who deleted text messages during the Jan. 6 protest, demanding that he resign over it immediately.
“It is troubling, to say the least, that you have been routinely destroying or deleting official government records in violation of a law that your office is supposed to enforce. Because you apparently admitted to multiple violations of federal criminal law, you should resign immediately,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-Md.) scathingly wrote in a letter to Cuffari.
“You are unfit to lead an agency responsible for preventing and detecting fraud and abuse in government programs and operations,” the lawmakers wrote.
Cuffari appeared before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee this week. He made the admission while Ivey questioned him concerning the handling of missing Secret Service text messages.
Ivey: Did you delete text messages from your government issued iPhone?
Cuffari: Yes pic.twitter.com/Dcp1dB0TQe
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 6, 2023
“It’s my normal practice to delete text messages,” Cuffari told Ivey, answering “correct” when he asked if he does this on an ongoing basis.
Cuffari and Ivey battled over whether those phone records should have been deleted or not.
“I don’t use my government cellphone to conduct official business,” Cuffari noted, clapping back when Ivey asked if the messages he deleted were somehow related to personal business.
“I did not consider those to be federal records and therefore I deleted them,” Cuffari responded. “It’s a clearly defined statute that places requirements on what a federal record actually is.”
Thompson and Ivey proclaimed that the deleted messages showed “willful and intentional acts that may constitute criminal violations of the Federal Records Act (FRA)” as well as internal DHS policy, which reportedly states that employees are responsible for retaining text messages.
Federal officials shouldn’t be deleting their government text messages. Today, I am calling for Inspector General Cuffari to step down. #Accountability #CuffariMustGo #DeletedTexts pic.twitter.com/8GlHBqBzW1
— Rep. Glenn Ivey (@RepGlennIvey) June 8, 2023
“Only NARA [National Archives and Records Administration] can determine ‘whether recorded information, regardless of whether it exists in physical, digital, or electronic form, is a record,’” they informed the inspector general. “As the FRA and DHS directive make clear, that was not your call to make.”
Cuffari is a Trump appointee and is highly respected. He is under investigation by the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency and has been the subject of a whole list of leftist complaints in both the House and Senate.
DHS Inspector General Joe Cuffari was appointed by President Trump. He’s a highly principled man who speaks solid truth. Inspector General Cuffari has been targeted by the Biden Administration since 2021. I stand with him. pic.twitter.com/N7wxcl8DX3
— Rep. Clay Higgins (@RepClayHiggins) June 7, 2023
Democrats have been fuming ever since they learned last year that Cuffari delayed notifying them that Secret Service messages connected to Jan. 6 were lost in a software transition.
Cuffari said at the hearing that he was responsible for signing off on removing a reference in a semi-annual report that would have notified lawmakers that his office was having difficulty obtaining the messages.
“I was working with senior leadership and the Department of Homeland Security to get the records we were lawfully entitled to receive,” he claimed.
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 6, 2023
Cuffari was also savaged by Democrats in the Senate who accused him of suppressing a report about sexual harassment at DHS, according to The Hill.
A number of employees who reportedly work for the inspector general have also called on President Biden to remove him, speciously asserting that they’ve lost hope the “ship will right itself.”
This isn’t the first time the Democrats have called for Cuffari to step down over Jan. 6. He ignored them previously. Only Biden has the power to remove him from office.
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