Earlier this week it was revealed that Donald Trump appears to be increasingly pushing the Secret Service away. He’s kicked them out of their command post at Trump Tower entirely. And during his golf vacation in New Jersey, they’ll be using drones to do their jobs remotely. Now that a Russian oligarch’s private plane has just arrived in New Jersey on the same day Trump arrived in the state, it’s led to the question of whether Trump is pushing away the Secret Service because he doesn’t want witnesses.
First there was the Washington Post story this week about Donald Trump forcing the Secret Service command post out of Trump Tower and into a trailer outside, and now apparently into an entirely different building (link). Trump spends no time at Trump Tower, so this initially felt like a rent dispute. But then came a more pertinent BBC story about the Secret Service using drones during Trump’s upcoming golf vacation to protect him remotely (link). So why is he now pushing the Secret Service away in general, and during his golf vacation in particular?
Then came the discovery today that the private plane belonging to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who has close ties to Vladimir Putin, and whose wife attended Trump’s inauguration in January, just happened to land in New Jersey today. Abramovich’s plane arrived at Newark Airport within a few hours of Trump’s own arrival at that same New Jersey airport for his golf vacation – which we reported here. That leads to the necessary question of whether Donald Trump is pushing away the Secret Service because he doesn’t want agents to witness his interactions with anyone who might happen to show up at his golf resort over the next seventeen days. And that takes us back to another recent incident involving Trump and the Secret Service.
Last month Donald Trump’s attorney insisted that nothing nefarious could have happened during Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian government because the Secret Service would have intervened. It was a silly rationale, quickly debunked. But it did lead Watergate veteran John Dean to point out that if Secret Service agents did ever witness such a crime, they’d have to testify about it (link). Since that revelation, Trump seems to have begun pushing the Secret Service as far away as possible. Wait until he figures out that his own personal bodyguards would also have to testify about anything they witness.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report