Don Jr set his phone up to delete text messages after 30 days before Jan 6 testimony

Donald Trump Jr.  listens as former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Dayton International Airport on November 7, 2022 in Vandalia, Ohio (Getty Images)

Donald Trump Jr. listens as former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Dayton International Airport on November 7, 2022 in Vandalia, Ohio (Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr, set his text messages to be automatically deleted after 30 days before he testified before the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot.

The revelation comes as the select committee released a trove of transcripts of testimony on Thursday. The committee held its interview with the president’s eldest son on May 3, 2022.

During questioning, interrogators noted that he subpoenaed Trump’s cell phone company to obtain records and that Trump had set his phone to automatically delete text messages after 30 days. Trump said he created it in the fall of 2021.

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“I didn’t realize that was a thing until then,” he said. “So I put it there.”

But Trump said the select committee’s work did not influence his decision to set his phone to automatically delete text messages.

“No, not one bit,” he said.

Similarly, he said he was not under any court or discovery order to preserve his text messages.

“I made my phone available to all of our lawyers about everything that was pending before that, which, as you know, was pretty extensive,” he said in response. “So, you know, they did everything they needed to do to fulfill all those things before I did that.”

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Also, he answered in the affirmative when he said that his phone had been taken in 2021 and all the contents had been copied. Trump’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, said a “full picture” was taken of the phone, but Trump’s legal team was only able to retrieve a subset of that picture, which he said was taken for a different investigation.

“They were still pretty broad search terms, but it was for different litigation,” Futerfas said.

In response, a committee questioner asked if the IT team’s efforts to find the full copy were ongoing.

“They are,” said Futerfas. “There was some corruption between storage devices when that subset was moved between storage devices.”

Trump noted that when he spoke to his father during the elder Trump’s presidency, he primarily called through the White House operator. Last year, Trump was found to have texted then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows as a way to communicate with his father during the riot.

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“You need to condemn this crap ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,” he reportedly texted at the time.

During the interview, Trump was asked why he felt it was insufficient.

“I don’t remember, but I didn’t think it was enough,” Trump said in response. He noted that he also texted Mr. Meadows because he would probably have been on a plane without internet and his father doesn’t text.

The committee also asked Trump if he ever spoke to his father about his activities during the subsequent riot.

“I don’t think I have, no,” he said.


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