Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the House Oversight Committee chairman, announced on Wednesday that the committee will investigate how former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter kept his job in the Trump administration while accusations of domestic abuse were made against him.
Gowdy sent a letter to the White House questioning how Porter was able to work without an interim security clearance despite being accused of domestic violence.
The House Oversight Committee chairman also sent a letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray in which he asked how the bureau investigates and how it issues interim security clearances. Gowdy asked Wray when the FBI notified the White House about issues regarding Porter’s background check.
Wray told a Senate Committee hearing on Tuesday that the agency completed its investigation in July and provided more information in November and January.
Porter lost his White House job last week after two ex-wives, Jennie Willoughby and Colbie Holderness, alleged that he physically and emotionally abused them.
Rep. Gowdy, who is retiring at the end of this congressional term, told CNN, “What matters to me is that we are directing inquiries to people that we think have access to information we don’t have.”
The South Carolina congressman added, “You can call it official. You can call it unofficial. Those words don’t mean anything to me. What means something to me is I’m going to direct questions to the FBI that I expect them to answer.”
White House chief of staff John Kelly remains at the center of the controversy regarding Porter. Gowdy sent a letter to Kelly to ask when the White House knew of any “potential derogatory or disqualifying information” about Porter.
Gowdy said, “So whether or not there’s security at issue or not, I have real issues about how someone like this could be considered for employment, whether there’s a security clearance or not.”