Should the Secret Service Investigate Donald Trump for His Mention of Hillary Clinton and the Second Amendment?

How would the Secret Service respond if a member of the public said what Trump said about the Second Amendment and Clinton? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Jason Wells, spent 9 years as a Special Agent and Investigative Analyst for the U.S. Secret Service, on Quora:

The U.S. Secret Service takes threats against individuals under the protective umbrella of the agency very, very seriously. "Threats" can include the following:

Direct Threats - "I am going to kill you, (enter name)."

Veiled Threats - Not directly stating the threat, but promoting a situation that could cause a person serious harm: "I wish someone would just drop a piano on (enter name) head."

Implied Threats - "I'm just going to put this poison in (enter name) drink and see what happens."

The agency investigates every threat that is reported to them. No exceptions. No matter how mundane, how much it was expressed in a joke, it does not matter. You cannot threaten the life or well-being of a person under the protection of the United States Secret Service.

The most frequent investigations that I performed during my tenure with the agency was following up on reports like these: People would be at a party, in a bar or a social setting, and someone would have some drinks and make a remark like one of those above. They thought they were being funny, or cute, or they did it for 'shock theater'. They were reported to the field office, and a day later I was interviewing them for making threats.

The vast, vast majority of these people were vetted to be "non-threatening" but the process to clear a person was miserable. It typically involved multiple interviews with corroborative sources, background investigations into the individual's standing in society, and other aspects that I am not going to discuss.

The original question is: How would the Secret Service respond if a member of the public said what Trump said about the Second Amendment and Clinton? I would bet a buffalo nickel that agents would have responded to whoever made those statements and confirmed that the individual was not a threat to the protectee.

I will further add that I am confident that they took the same action against Mr. Trump. I would be shocked if they didn't review it or discuss it with the Trump camp in some manner.

Are these statements prosecutorial? Technically, yes. But that's not going to happen. I never arrested or prosecuted a person who made any such statements, because every person I investigated was not guilty of causing harm: They just screwed up and said something that they shouldn't have said.

Just like Donald Trump. It was a bonehead statement, he made a mistake, and I am confident that he did not legitimately say anything with the genuine intention of causing people harm. Case closed.

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