Is the Secret Service protecting Trump or itself?
Secret Service agent outside Doanld Trump's vehicle (Photo by Thomas Samson for AFP)

Former senior adviser to Ted Cruz, Amanda Carpenter, wrote for the Bulwark that she's not quite clear on who the U.S. Secret Service is protecting given what has been uncovered about their behavior on Jan. 6.

Among the things that have been uncovered, it turns out the Secret service informed the president about weapons that participants at the Ellipse rally had on Jan. 6. They didn't arrest anyone, despite it being illegal to have firearms on federal property like the Washington Monument. In fact, the Secret Service didn't report the weapons they discovered from rally attendees to the DC Metro Police or the Capitol Police as those rally goers began marching in that direction.

The Jan. 6 committee uncovered an incident that an agent on leave while working for Trump relayed to Cassidy Hutchinson. He is now denying that the incident ever happened and that he told her about it.

READ: 'Very suspicious': Secret Service expert questions use of texts on Jan 6th instead of agents using radios

Another incident that Carpenter took issue with is the idea that Vice President Mike Pence refused to allow the Secret Service to whisk him away from the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Pence’s aide Greg Jacob testified Pence told his lead Secret Service agent Tim Giebels, "I trust you, but you’re not the one behind the wheel." Secret Service procedure is to remove the protectee from dangerous situations. On Sept. 11, 2001, it was unclear what was happening in the United States and Vice President Dick Cheney was put on Air Force Two and they put him in the air away from the overwhelming majority of threats.

Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, said that the vice president didn't want people at the Capitol chanting "hang Mike Pence" to see him fleeing and thinking they'd won. But the idea that Pence didn't trust the Secret Service to make the decisions was startling to those who've worked in the White House over the past several administrations.

Finally, the worst, said Carpenter, is that the Secret Service "lost" the data on their phones that would have revealed any evidence about the expectations or conversations on or around Jan. 5 and 6. It only adds to the years of scandals that the Secret Service has faced, prompting some, like former Breitbart staffer Kurt Bardella to ask if they were obstructing justice, lying and covering up evidence for Trump.

"Does that explanation not quite sound believable? It shouldn’t. Because, really, how could the Secret Service, a law enforcement agency well versed in the practice of preserving documents and corroborating stories, just accidentally destroy communications from one of the most momentous days in its history—especially after the agency was asked to preserve exactly those types of documents?" she asked.

She closed by asking what the real story is and for congressional investigators to probe the details to uncover if there are further questions about the Secret Service if oversight should investigate.

"Put another way: Who or what is the Secret Service really protecting? The president and the vice president, as the highest constitutional officers? Donald Trump? Or itself?" she asked.

Read the full column at The Bulwark.

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