The Rob Porter fiasco has exposed the White House’s duplicity, disorganization, and disregard for domestic violence, but it has also exposed some of the issues with the system for granting security clearance to federal employees.
Until his abrupt resignation last week amid allegations of physical and verbal abuse by two ex-wives, Porter had served as staff secretary, handling classified material under an interim security clearance. The question is when the White House learned about the allegations against Porter, when it learned that he would not be recommended for a permanent security clearance, and whether he would have been allowed to continue working barring the press reports about the allegations.
Testifying under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee, FBI Director Chris Wray on Tuesday said that the White House had been aware of problems with Porter months ago. Wray said that the FBI delivered a partial report in March 2017 and completed its report in late July. He said the bureau had provided further information in November, pursuant to a request.
“I’m quite confident that in this particular instance the FBI followed the established protocols,” he said.
Wray’s testimony aligns with reporting about what staff in White House, including Counsel Don McGahn and Chief of Staff John Kelly, knew and when they knew it, but it conflicts with the White House line, which is that when Kelly learned that Porter had been accused of domestic violence, he quickly told Porter that he needed to resign. (In yet another account, White House spokespeople have repeatedly claimed publicly Porter resigned of his own volition.) This testimony from Wray, who Trump selected to succeed fired FBI Director James Comey, puts his bureau, which has already been a target of harsh attacks from the president, again at odds with the White House.