Tags: Donald Trump | Trump | Private Security | Team | White House | Secret Service

Politico: Trump's Private Security Team 'Playing With Fire'

Image: Politico: Trump's Private Security Team 'Playing With Fire'

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By    |   Monday, 19 Dec 2016 12:36 PM

Donald Trump continues to use a private security team and plans to keep some members of it on board when he becomes president, a major break in tradition, according to Politico.

"It's playing with fire," said Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service agent.

The Secret Service is tasked with protecting the president, and having them working alongside a private force "increases the Service's liability, it creates greater confusion, and it creates greater risk," Wackrow added.

Wackrow would not allow a private security team if he were leading the Secret Service at a Trump event and said the Secret Service has no choice but to go along with Trump's wishes.

"What are they going to do: pick a fight with the president-elect and his advisers?" he asked. 

Security experts told Politico, traditionally, presidents and presidents-elect rely entirely on the Secret Service for their personal security, and on local law enforcement for event security. Most candidates don't use any outside security forces after the Secret Service takes over their protection.

Trump's spending on private security has increased since becoming the Republican nominee, not decreased, in the last year. Federal Election Commission reports said that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton outspent Trump by 75 percent in every area except security.

In that area, he spent over $1 million in the past year and he spent $360,000, according to Politico.

Trump's security chief is Keith Schiller, a retired New York City officer and Navy veteran is Trump's security chief has been chief of the Trump Organization since 2004. His team identifies and removes protesters from Trump events, Politico reported.

However, after Trump becomes the president, Schiller's abilities might be limited. Federal law bars anyone except law enforcement personnel from bringing firearms into federal buildings.

Schiller has a Twitter following and Trump's supporters pose for selfies with him, and cheer him as he confronts protesters. However, one former campaign aide told Politico that Schiller is "the most important man no one has ever heard of."

"Keith is kind of a consigliere. He knows all the players, all the properties. He has the confidence of Trump and of the family," one transition team official said.

According to Politico, however, Schiller's presence has already led to difficulty for the Secret Service.

At a Dayton, Ohio, rally in March, Secret Service surrounded Trump after a man rushed the stage — Schiller leaped onto the stage and put himself between the Secret Service and Trump. A law enforcement source said one agent bashed Schiller's speed, calling him "JV trying to keep up in a varsity game . . . he was about three seconds too late."

Former Secret Service agent Joe Funk told Politico he is confused by Trump's security detail.

"There may be a very good reason for it, but as a layperson on the outside looking in, I'm just kind of scratching my head," Funk said. "In my experience, this is unprecedented."

During an interview in January, Schiller said he had a "great working relationship" with the Secret Service, and he does not directly involve himself with security.

"Things are different right now," Schiller said. "I hire big guys who do all the fighting."

Politico reported actions of private security forces have led to lawsuits against Trump.

Harry Brousseau and two other protesters are suing the Trump campaign because they say his supporters punched him in the stomach after she shouted "Black Lives Matter" at a March rally.

Another lawsuit said supporters at a Birmingham, Ala., rally punched and kicked an African-American man, and a third lawsuit said Schiller and other officers assaulted protesters outside the Trump campaign headquarters.

In the last incident, Schiller agreed with the claim he hit one of the protesters in the head, because he was reaching for Schiller's gun.

"Based on my years of training, I instinctively reacted by turning around in one movement and striking the person with my open hand," Schiller said. 

In April, Politico reported addressed actions by Trump security forces, including an incident in Janesville, Wisconsin, in which former FBI agent Don Albracht filmed protesters and ripped signs out of their hands.

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Donald Trump continues to use a private security team and plans to keep some members of it on board when he becomes president, a major break in tradition, according to Politico.
Trump, Private Security, Team, White House, Secret Service
Monday, 19 Dec 2016 12:36 PM
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