Bennie and Liz sitting in a tree

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On Wednesday, Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack issued a joint statement expressing concerns that the Secret Service phone system update led to the “erasure” of records — a possible violation of federal law — and that “every effort must be made to retrieve the lost data.”

“The U.S. Secret Service system migration process went forward on January 27, 2021, just three weeks after the attack on the Capitol in which the Vice President of the United States while under the protection of the Secret Service, was steps from a violent mob hunting for him,” the lawmakers said.

“Four House committees had already sought these critical records from the Department of Homeland Security before the records were apparently lost,”they said. “Additionally, the procedure for preserving content prior to this purge appears to have been contrary to federal records retention requirements and may represent a possible violation of the Federal Records Act.”

The testimony of the staff woman weeks ago was the best news I have had in a long while. Mr. Thompson has earned my respect; ditto Ms. Cheney and everyone else whether in the committee or behind the scenes.

It occurred to me that the first thing responsible communities did when faced with police reform was to form a committee. It even sounded, and continues for the most part to suggest, bureaucracy and stagnation. The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission is one such example. But, if it is formed with diverse members who acknowledge they have a job to do, it now strikes me as a positive step. Again, they are there for a reason.

An educational reason for reading legal documents is the organization and writing they contain. That is easier and it comes out better when you have a lot of smart people reviewing every word. I have come to enjoy the documents from what we now know as the committee. Items with Mr. Thompson’s name on them have an unusual clarity to them: he is an expert at what he is doing. He, and they, show a clear path and progression.

Let’s hope, and there is no reason not to, that Attorney General Merrick Garland is just doing the right thing in waiting for these people to finish the tasks in front of them. Mr. Garland is being criticized in abstentia. Every indication is that everyone is watching closely. The Justice Department isn’t going to tell the press or anyone else what they are doing anyway.

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