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Did Trump’s habit of politicizing government extend to the Secret Service?

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
Former President Donald Trump speaks in Las Vegas on July 8, 2022.
Former President Donald Trump speaks in Las Vegas on July 8, 2022.John Locher / AP file

WASHINGTON — If it’s Wednesday ... Dan Cox wins the GOP primary in MD-GOV, while Wes Moore leads the Democratic contest, but it’s still too early to call. ... Glenn Ivey is ahead of Donna Edwards in Maryland-04 (NBC News hasn’t called the race). ... Neil Parrott beats Matthew Foldi in GOP’s Maryland-06 primary. ... President Biden announces  executive actions on climate in Massachusetts. ... The House passes a bill codifying legal same-sex marriage by 267-157 vote, with 47 Republicans voting in favor and 157 voting against. ... And Senate Democrats coalesce around scaled-back Biden bill. 

But first: One thing that made Donald Trump’s presidency different from his modern predecessors is how he politicized what had been traditionally nonpartisan governmental institutions. 

Like the U.S. Border Patrol. The Postal Service. And — at least from the look of things right now — the U.S. Secret Service. 

On Tuesday, NBC’s Scott Wong and Peter Nicholas confirmed a Washington Post report that the Secret Service has no text messages related to Jan. 6 to turn over to the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

More from the Post“Many of its agents’ cellphone texts were permanently purged starting in mid-January 2021 and Secret Service officials said it was the result of an agencywide reset of staff telephones and replacement that it began planning months earlier.”

And: “Secret Service agents, many of whom protect the president, vice president and other senior government leaders, were instructed to upload any old text messages involving government business to an internal agency drive before the reset, the senior official said, but many agents appear not to have done so.”

Appearing on MSNBC Tuesday, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla. — a member of the Jan. 6 committee — added: “When the inspector general raised this issue with us, the Secret Service adamantly denied that they were either stonewalling the inspector general or that the text messages were lost.” 

“And then, when we subpoenaed those text messages, we have now received additional information. It just basically leaves us with a lot more questions and the need to continue to work with the agency to see if we can get to the bottom of this. 

The deletion of those text messages could have been an accident — a screw-up without any nefarious intentions. 

But given what took place at other government institutions from 2017 to Jan. 2021, everyone is right to be skeptical. Also remember, this isn’t the first time the Secret Service has clashed with the Jan. 6 committee and/or previous testimony. 

And it raises an important question: What work is being done — right now — to de-politicize these institutions? To prevent it from happening again? 

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 47

That’s how many House Republicans voted with Democrats to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and codify same-sex marriage protections. 

The group of Republicans included some GOP leaders, such as New York’s Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 Republican in the House, and Minnesota’s Tom Emmer, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee. House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry supported the measure as well. 

Two other notable “yes” votes included Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who opposed same-sex marriage when she ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2014, and New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, who is running for governor.

The bill split the five Republicans in races the Cook Political Report rates as Toss Ups. Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer and California Reps. Mike Garcia and David Valadao voted for it, while Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot and New Mexico Rep. Yvette Herrell voted against it.

Other numbers to know:

$12 million: That’s how much money Democratic nominees in four Senate battlegrounds have spent on TV ads since their states’ primaries, while their GOP opponents have not yet aired any general election television ads. 

169: The number of members of Congress who tested positive for Covid so far since the start of last year, including 119 this year, per Fox News. That now includes Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

17: The number of members of Congress arrested by Capitol Police during a protest on protecting abortion rights access. 

30%: The increase in overdose deaths between 2019 and 2020, per the CDC

Midterm roundup: Maryland primary results (so far) 

Here’s a look at the results in some of the Maryland primaries we were watching last night, with the projected winners and vote percentages per NBC’s Decision Desk

Maryland Governor (GOP): With 79% of the expected vote in, Trump-backed state Del. Dan Cox defeated former state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, an ally of GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, 56%-40%.

Maryland Governor (Democratic): The Democratic primary is too early to call with 62% of the vote in. Author and nonprofit leader Wes Moore is leading with 37%, while former Labor Secretary and DNC Chairman Tom Perez is at 27%. State comptroller Peter Franchot is at 20%.

Maryland Attorney General (Democratic): Rep. Anthony Brown won the primary with 59% of the vote, defeating former judge Katie Curran O’Malley, wife of former Gov. Martin O’Malley, who was at 41% — with 61% in.

Maryland-04 (Democratic): This primary has not yet been called. With 50% in, Glenn Ivey, a former state’s attorney for Prince George’s County, is leading former Rep. Donna Edwards, 51% to 35%. 

Maryland-06 (GOP): State Del. Neil Parrott won the primary to take on Democratic Rep. David Trone in a potentially competitive race. Parrot won 64% of the vote while Matthew Foldi, a conservative campaign operative turned journalist backed by Hogan and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, won just 14%.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Colorado Senate: Axios reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told attendees at a fundraiser he’s “all in” on the Colorado Senate race. 

Florida Senate: Sen. Marco Rubio is attacking his Democratic opponent, Rep. Val Demings, over her campaign’s use of TikTok, alleging Demings is a tool of the Chinese communist party, NBC’s Marc Caputo writes.

Nevada Senate: CNN reports that Nevada Republican nominee Adam Laxalt’s communications director attended the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. She has not been charged with any crime and says she traveled to D.C. with “expectations of a peaceful gathering.”

Ohio Senate: Roll Call reports that one of Republican J.D. Vance’s joint fundraising committee is prioritizing paying off the campaign’s primary debt, which includes a loan Vance himself made to the campaign.

Michigan Governor: Tudor Dixon, the conservative who has been leading the GOP primary polls, is going up with her first TV ads today on Fox News, per AdImpact.  

Oregon Governor: Betsy Johnson, the former Democratic state senator running an unaffiliated gubernatorial campaign, has been endorsed by Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader, who lost his primary earlier this year.  

New York-10: Former New York City Gov. Bill De Blasio dropped his congressional bid Tuesday. Meanwhile, a handful of the remaining Democrats pounced on former impeachment lawyer Dan Goldman’s new comments initially supporting limiting abortions post-viability (one question later, in an interview with the Jewish news outlet Hamodia, Goldman backtracked and said an abortion should always be a “woman’s individual decision.” 

Texas-34: A blogger previously paid by Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez for campaign ads made racist attacks on GOP Rep. Mayra Flores in blog posts, attacks the Gonzalez campaign says he condemns, per Caputo. 

Washington-03: Winning for Women Action Fund is going up with a $630,000 ad buy attacking Joe Kent, the Trump-backed candidate running against Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the GOP primary, per AdImpact. 

Ad watch: The Club boosts Masters

In Arizona’s Senate race, the conservative Club for Growth Action is out with two new ads highlighting former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Blake Masters.

Both ads display the clip of an earlier Masters ad featuring Trump, and both ads highlight how important Trump’s endorsement is in the race.

The Club for Growth has so far spent over $1 million supporting Masters on the airwaves and Masters himself has spent over $1.4 million, according to AdImpact, an ad tracking firm. Saving Arizona, a PAC funded by Masters’ employer, billionaire Peter Thiel, has spent over $7.6 million on ads boosting Masters.

But businessman Jim Lamon, who has self-funded his campaign, has spent the most on ads, dropping over $8.8 million on the airwaves. 

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world 

Biden is set to announce executive actions on climate change. 

The White House says Russia is plotting to annex more Ukrainian territory.