The committee that's investigating the U.S. Capitol riot issued subpoena to the Secret Service regarding the text messages that agents reportedly erased around Jan. 6, 2021.

In a letter, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General said that the messages between Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, were erased “as part of a device-replacement program," reported the Associated Press. The letter said that the erasure came after the watchdog office requested records of electronic communications between the agents as part of its Jan. 6 investigation.

The erasure of the messages is expected to raise new questions for the Jan. 6 committee. It has taken a renewed interest in the Secret Service following the bombshell testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson about former President Donald Trump’s actions on the day of the riot.

Jan. 6 committee chairman, Representative Bennie Thompson, who outlined an aggressive timeline for production of the documents by Tuesday, said that the panel understands the messages had been “erased.”

Thompson said in a statement Friday that the Secret Service "erased text messages from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, as part of a ‘device-replacement program'." The panel, he said “seeks the relevant text messages, as well as any after action reports that have been issued in any and all divisions of" the U.S. Secret Service pertaining or relating in any way to the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

According to a statement from agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, the Secret Service said that the Jan. 6 panel “has had our full and unwavering cooperation” since beginning its work and “that does not change," reported the Associated Press. He added that they plan to continue that "cooperation by responding swiftly" to the panel's subpoena.

The insinuation that the Secret Service "maliciously deleted text messages following a request is false," said Guglielmi. He shared that “as part of a pre-planned, three-month system migration," the Secret Service had started to reset its mobile devices to factory settings in January 2021, and in that process, some data was lost.

Thompson said that the panel is taking a deeper look at whether documents may have been lost, and that there have been "some conflicting positions on the matter."

To issue a subpoena to an executive branch department, was seen as a rare step for the committee.

Trump and Secret Service agents
(L-R) A Secret Service agents stands as U.S. President Donald Trump and retired four-star Army general Jack Keane arrive for a ceremony to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Keane in the East Room of the White House March 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. Gen. Keane currently works as an analyst on Fox News. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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