In a city obsessed with the trappings of power, they are the ultimate status symbol: the wire-wearing, black S.U.V.-driving protective crews that come with high-level government service.

So when it came to light last week that the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, had ordered the United States Marshals Service to extend a full protective detail to Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, for as much as $1 million a month, many people began to wonder about the protective pecking order in the Trump era.

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