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 Judge: Secret Service Must Testify(05-22-98)


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President Clinton On Secret Service Decision

May 22, 1998

QUESTION: Do you feel that the Secret -- by allowing Secret Service agents to testify that it would in fact harm future presidents?

CLINTON: Well, that's the Secret Service position. And President Bush agreed with them. And I think there's a serious possibility that that could occur, probably in a different sort of context. At least it will -- it'll have a chilling effect on, perhaps on the conversations presidents have and the work that they do and the way they do it. But it is true that there is no legal -- there's no statute there.

But, you know, all these investigations have been carried out over the last 25 years in a climate of intense pro-investigation, and yet I don't think anyone ever thought about it, because no one ever thought that anyone would ever abuse the responsibility that the Secret Service has to the president, the president's family.

So, there's some things that you ought not to have to make a law about. And I think that's basically where we are, that it never occurred to anybody that anyone would ever be so insensitive to the responsibilities of the Secret Service that this kind of legal question would arise.

While what the law would be on appeal or whether the Secret Service will appeal, I don't know, because I haven't been involved in it. I don't think it's appropriate for me to be involved in it.

But I think it -- yes, I think it will raise some serious questions and present a whole new array of problems for managing the presidency and for the Secret Service managing their responsibility.

And because previous people have understood that and cared enough about it, I don't think that anybody's ever even considered doing this before. But we're living in a time which is without precedent where actions are being taken without precedent, and we just have to live with the consequences.

Thank you very much.

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Friday, May 22, 1998

Judge: Secret Service Must Testify
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