Gowdy Opens Congressional Probe of Former Trump Aide's Clearance


The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent letters to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and FBI Director Christopher Wray Wednesday morning seeking information about former White House staff secretary Rob Porter and his security clearance amid a firestorm surrounding allegations of domestic abuse.

"I would want to know from Don McGahn and General Kelly and anyone else - what did you know?" He wrote a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the White House demanding answers to those questions.

Prior to Wray's testimony, the White House had repeatedly claimed that the F.B.I.'s security checks into Porter's background hadn't been completed before last Tuesday, when the British newspaper the Daily Mail published its initial scoop about the spousal-abuse allegations against Porter.

The only Trump appointees NBC News notes as being highly recognizable who are operating with permanent security clearances are White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway.

The weeklong fallout from the allegations against Porter has thrown the West Wing into chaos not seen since the earliest months of the administration and has sparked new rounds of recriminations inside the White House.

The White House's first-blush reaction to the charges leveled by Holderness and Willoughby was to defend Porter.

"I think the White House could have handled this better and I still feel that way", Pence said.

That raised an important question: How did Porter get the security clearance needed to serve as the trusted information gatekeeper to President Donald Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly?

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Although he initially defended Porter, Kelly said last week that he was "shocked" at the abuse accusations after seeing photographs of the ex-wives' battered faces.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Monday, "The White House had not received any specific papers regarding the completion of that background check". What we didn't know was how his entitled white guy agenda would play out.

If there are problems with the applicant, the personnel office alerts the White House counsel's office, who would in turn communicate with the White House chief of staff. Politico reported that once he was briefed on the allegations, Kelly told staff Porter "was gone 40 minutes later".

In Mr Trump's first comments after Mr Porter resigned, he praised his former aide.

Kelly's remark also appeared to be at odds with the sentiment of White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah, who suggested on Friday that the administration "could have done better" in its handling of the Porter matter.

Some Democrats have said Porter's history could have made him a target of blackmail, and that he should not have held such a sensitive position.

The Vice President stated that the Trump administration "has no tolerance for domestic violence, nor should any American".

"We wish him well", Trump said.