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House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) tore into the Nancy Pelosi-picked Select Committee on January 6 for reportedly deleting or password-protecting some 2 terabytes worth of data just days before Republicans took over the House a year ago.
Earlier this week, the House Administration Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee, responsible for investigating both the 2021 Capitol riot and the prior Democrat-led inquiry into the riot, discovered that during the chamber’s transition to GOP control in January 2023, over 100 files were encrypted and deleted from hard drives, the New York Post reported.
The select committee was expected to provide Republican Chairman Barry Loudermilk of Georgia with four terabytes of archived data. The outlet, however, reported that his committee only received two terabytes of data.
In an X post, Stefanik ripped the committee, of which former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) was a member.
“As I said from day one, Nancy Pelosi’s sham January 6th Committee was illegitimate and unconstitutional. It should come as a surprise to no one that Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney’s fake committee illegally deleted records of their sham investigation and obstructed justice,” Stefanik wrote in a post to X Tuesday. “The American people deserve full transparency.”
Cheney responded and linked to a statement that Stefanik made on the day of the Capitol riot.
“This is what @EliseStefanik said, in a rare moment of honesty, about the January 6 attack on our Capitol,” Cheney wrote. “One day she will have to explain how and why she morphed into a total crackpot. History, and our children, deserve to know.”
In her previous statement, Stefanik referred to the riots as “a truly tragic day for America.”
Stefanik, a steadfast advocate of former President Donald Trump and a potential vice presidential candidate for the leading GOP contender, succeeded Cheney as conference chairwoman following Cheney’s removal from the position due to her vote to impeach Trump, claiming he provoked the riots when, in fact, he implored supporters attending his speech that day to demonstrate “peacefully” at the Capitol.
A year later, Stefanik released a statement ahead of the one-year anniversary of Jan. 6, calling for transparency and emphasizing the Capitol’s lack of security that day.
“It is unacceptable that one year later the American people still do not have answers as to why the Capitol was left so vulnerable and how to ensure it never happens again,” she wrote.
In a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for Stefanik dismissed Cheney’s remark.
“Liz Cheney’s only remaining relevance is that she will soon have to answer for her role in deleting and hiding evidence from the investigation into the sham January 6 Select Committee,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier in the week, Fox News reported that the digital forensics firm hired by Loudermilk’s committee discovered 117 were both deleted and encrypted on Jan. 1, 2023, just a few days before Republicans took over the committee and Thompson’s team was required to hand over all materials.
Fox also obtained a letter Loudermilk sent to Thompson seeking access to the recovered digital files.
“As you acknowledged in your July 7, 2023 letter, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (Select Committee) did not archive all Committee records as required by House Rules,” Loudermilk wrote. “You wrote that you sent specific transcribed interviews and depositions to the White House and Department of Homeland Security but did not archive them with the Clerk of the House.”
Loudermilk noted further that the Mississippi Democrat also “claimed that you turned over 4-terabytes of digital files, but the hard drives archived by the Select Committee with the Clerk of the House contain less than 3-terabytes of data.”
He further explained that following the forensic analysis of the hard drives and data they contained, he was able to recover “numerous digital records from hard drives archived by the Select Committee.”
“One recovered file disclosed the identity of an individual whose testimony was not archived by the Select Committee,” Loudermilk wrote. “Further, we found that most of the recovered files are password-protected, preventing us from determining what they contain.”