Thursday, July 25, 2024

Senators confront Secret Service chief at Republican convention: ‘You owe President Trump answers’

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Republican senators confronted Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday over the attempted assassination of former President Trump on Saturday, telling her that they owe the people and the president “answers.”

Video shows Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., confronting Cheatle in Milwaukee. Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., were also involved.

“Stonewalling,” Barrasso can be heard yelling at Cheatle as she moves through the convention center.

HOUSE GOP LEADERS DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY ON TRUMP ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT: ‘SO MANY QUESTIONS’ 

Former President Trump survived an assassination attempt on Saturday during Pennsylvania rally. (Trump Campaign Office / Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

“This was an assassination attempt, you owe the people answers, you owe President Trump answers,” Blackburn said.

In a separate longer video, the senators can be seen questioning Cheatle. In response to their questions, she says that it isn’t an appropriate place to have the discussion, but says she is happy to answer questions, before leaving the suite. It is at that point she is yelled at by the lawmakers.

In a statement in response to a query about the confrontation, the Secret Service said Cheatle is committed to transparency.

“Continuity of operations is paramount during a critical incident and U.S. Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle has no intentions to step down,” Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. “She deeply respects members of Congress and is fiercely committed to transparency in leading the Secret Service through the internal investigation and strengthening the agency through lessons learned in these important internal and external reviews.”

The incident comes amid furious criticism of the agency by Republicans and some Democrats over the circumstances surrounding the attempt on Trump’s life in Butler, Pennsylvania on Saturday. The shooter has been identified as Thomas Matthew Crooks, 20, and the FBI is investigating his specific motive.

Trump was shot in the ear, but one attendee was killed and two others injured. Lawmakers have questioned how the gunman was able to get so close and fire off multiple shots, as details have emerged of people seeing him climb up the building.

DISCORD REVEALS DETAILS OF WOULD-BE TRUMP ASSASSIN’S ACCOUNT ON PLATFORM

Blackburn Cheatle

This image shows Sens. Marsha Blackburn and John Barrasso confronting Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle. (@VoteMarsha/X)

FBI Director Christopher Wray held member-wide briefings with both the House and Senate on Wednesday to discuss lawmakers’ questions and concerns. Barrasso told Fox News earlier that the meeting was a “100% cover-your-a—briefing.”

Cheatle has agreed to comply with a subpoena from House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer. She has called the shooting “unacceptable” and “something that shouldn’t happen again.”

“The buck stops with me,” she told ABC News. “I am the director of the Secret Service, and I need to make sure that we are performing a review and that we are giving resources to our personnel as necessary.”

She has also faced criticism for comments she made talking about a “sloped roof” that caused a safety issue.

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“That building in particular has a sloped roof, at its highest point. And so, there’s a safety factor that would be considered there that we wouldn’t want to put somebody up on a sloped roof. And so, the decision was made to secure the building, from inside,” she said.

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Her answers have so far failed to satisfy many Republican lawmakers, including Barrasso and Blackburn.

“It is appalling that the Secret Service Director refused to answer our questions. This is one of the greatest security failures in the history of the agency. She can run but she cannot hide. She is a failed leader and she needs to immediately step down from her position,” Blackburn said in a statement.

Fox News’ Liz Elkind and Aishah Hasnie contributed to this report.
 





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