Mainstream news outlets are triumphantly reporting on Monday morning that the Secret Service has denied claims made by President Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow that Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign would not have happened if the Secret Service had considered it “nefarious.”
“If this was nefarious, why’d the Secret Service allow these people in?” Sekulow asked on ABC’s “This Week.”
“The president had Secret Service protection at that point,” he said. “That raised a question with me.”
Now the Secret Service says that protection did not extend to Don Jr. at the time.
“Donald Trump, Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June, 2016. Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time,” Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman said in a statement to Reuters on Sunday.
The Secret Service website states that it is authorized to protect immediate family members of the president, vice president, the president-elect, the vice president-elect, as well as other individuals in the presidential line of succession. They are also authorized to protect major presidential and vice presidential candidates and their spouses within 120 days of a general election.
Sekulow’s comments about the Secret Service drew quick criticism, including from Frances Townsend, who advised former Republican President George W. Bush on homeland security.
“Ok let’s try to deflect blame & throw those in @SecretService who protect @POTUS @realDonaldTrump @FLOTUS & family under the bus,” she said on Twitter.
— Frances Townsend (@FranTownsend) July 16, 2017
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