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President Donald Trump would almost certainly have Secret Service agents charged with protecting him even if he winds up in prison, former agency officials told Insider this week.
There’s an important reason why these law enforcement veterans are saying this too.
Even though Trump could try to pardon himself on the way out the door, he still faces plenty of legal problems after his term ends on January 20th. Criminal investigations loom at the state level, and it’s also no sure thing that the federal courts won’t toss out a Trump self-pardon absolving himself of any criminal repercussions from the US government he once led.
Ex-Secret Service agents and former Obama administration officials are wondering how exactly agents would protect a president who’s been convicted of a crime and serving prison time, and they’re flabbergasted that it’s a discussion topic that isn’t all that far fetched as Trump’s norm-shattering presidency is drawing to a close.
“If Donald Trump gets sent to prison, what’s the role of the Secret Service in that case?” said Douglas Smith, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration.
Before Trump’s presidency, “I don’t think anybody ever contemplated having a president in jail and what impact that would have on the Secret Service,” a former Secret Service official told Insider this week.
Federal law entitles Trump and all other ex-presidents to Secret Service protections for life — although it didn’t always. So unless Congress acts to change that, Trump or any other president who lands in jail would have some degree of security provided by the agency, former federal law enforcement officials and legal experts told Insider.
What exactly that would look like is a topic that’s getting more attention as Trump’s legal problems pile up, particularly after he incited a violent January 6th attack on the US Capitol that left five people dead.
Trump, of course, won’t be facing a jail or prison cell anytime soon — or ever. No federal, state or local charges of any kind are publicly pending against the president. And even if Trump were charged with a crime once he’s out of the White House, the chances are high he’d be processed and released on bond while awaiting trial. Only with a conviction would this become a live-wire question, albeit one that the people who have been charged with protecting past presidents say they’re actively contemplating now.
“Is an agent going to be with him inside a cell? No,” said the former Secret Service official, who guessed that Trump would wind up in a “country club-type place” if he’s convicted. But there would likely be at least one agent on the property to protect the president, even if that person isn’t “walking on his shoulder out in the yard.”
Such a job isn’t likely to be a coveted assignment for any Secret Service agent, that person said, unless they’re also studying to get their master’s degree. “I would think you’d have a lot of time to do some reading.”
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Source:: Business Insider