Feb. 14 (UPI) — Members of the House oversight committee Wednesday opened an investigation into differences between the White House and FBI’s timelines into the background check of former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter.
Porter resigned earlier this month after two of his ex-wives accused him of domestic abuse. Though Porter denied the allegations, his resignation raised questions about when the White House became aware of them.
Both women — Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughy — said they told the FBI about the alleged abuse when they were interviewed as part of Porter’s security clearance process.
The House oversight letter, signed by Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and sent to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, said testimony by FBI Director Christopher Wray about the background check appeared to contradict a statement by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
On Wednesday, Wray said the FBI completed Porter’s security clearance background investigation in July. On Monday, Sanders said the White House “learned of the extent of the situation involving Rob Porter” on Feb. 6 and that his background check “was ongoing, hadn’t been completed.”
With his position, Porter, who was working under an interim security clearance, was exposed to some of the most sensitive information available to President Donald Trump.
“The committee is investigating the policies and processes by which interim security clearances are investigated and adjudicated within the executive branch, and the extent to which any security clearance issued to Porter comported with those policies and processes,” Gowdy’s letter said.
“The committee seeks to better understand the criteria and the scope of an investigation for determining whether to issue an interim security clearance generally; what information was available to the adjudicator of Porter’s interim clearance at the time it was adjudicated; who adjudicated his clearance; and what derogatory information was subsequently made available to the White House on Porter, when, and to whom.”
Gowdy asked Kelly to provide details about Porter’s clearance, including the date any White House employee became aware of information that would disqualify Porter’s clearance from the date of his appointment.