Feb 14, 2018, 2:02 PM ET

House committee launches investigation into Rob Porter's security clearance after domestic violence allegations

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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.

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Porter's position came with access to some of the highly classified documents on the president's desk. He worked on an interim security clearance until resigning last week when both his first and second wives publicly accused him of physical abuse.

Porter has denied the claims. Questions have arisen about who knew what in the White House and when, especially after the FBI director's testimony appeared to contradict the White House timeline about when Porter's background investigation was completed.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, of South Carolina, asked the White House and FBI for clarification on the "process, practices, and procedures" for issuing security clearances and how Porter's case was handled.

Additionally, the House Oversight Committee has begun an official investigation, Gowdy confirmed on CNN's "New Day" Wednesday morning.

The South Carolina Republican, who is not running for re-election in 2018, asked the White House to clarify when staffers learned of the allegations against Rob Porter.

A Monday statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House "learned of the extent of the situation involving Rob Porter last Tuesday evening (February 6)." The statement went on to say the FBI security clearance background investigation was "ongoing, hadn't been completed."

But that timeline appears to contradict Wray's testimony from Tuesday that the FBI completed its security clearance "in late July."

The FBI then responded to requests for follow up information in November, and finally "administratively closed the file in January ... earlier this month we received some additional information and we passed that along as well," Wray said.

"I would want to know from Don McGahn and General Kelly and anyone else -- what did you know? From whom did you hear it? To what extent did you hear it? And then what actions, if any, did you take," Gowdy said on "New Day."

The White House has repeatedly claimed the background investigation was ongoing as the allegations of violence came to light, including photos of an ex-wife's facial bruising and graphic descriptions of abuse from another wife.

Porter resigned last week soon after the allegations surfaced.

Gowdy asked for the information by Wednesday, Feb. 28th. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has jurisdiction over the security clearance process, but not who the White House chooses to hire, Gowdy told CNN.

News - House committee launches investigation into Rob Porter's security clearance after domestic violence allegations

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  • 40acre

    Forget Porter's security clearance....he's gone. Investigate the 130 people currently working in the Whitehouse who do not have theirs.....especially Jared.

  • katerant

    Lies and the lying liars who tell them.

  • Lee Thompson

    I don't have much faith in Gowdy to do a credible investigation. HE's a Republican who has been providing cover to Trump. Why would he change now?

  • P-dizzle

    This issue has been repeatedly raised to Chairman Gowdy by Member Cummings. Until now it has been ignored. Oversight appears to be CYA or worse...circle the wagons and protect the whitehouse.

  • Bev Guyer

    How many others are working in the WH without security clearance besides Porter and Kushner? These two could be working with foreign governments. If you ask me Kushner is a little too cozy with the Russians and the Middle Easterners.

  • arriba65

    Let's have Trump sit for an 11-hour interview in front of Gowdy's committee. Bet he wouldn't hold up that well.

  • Rubbed Sage

    Remember when Republicans claimed that they cared about access to secure documents? Does "Lock her up! Lock her up!" ring a bell, Trumpkins? Buncha schmucks.

  • mollydtt

    Please. Somebody--Trump shouldn't have security clearance and shouldn't be privy to FBI documents of any kind.

  • DougNJ

    Some say Pres. Trump is the addled in the room. Others maintain that Gen. Kelly is being a-dolt on this matter.

  • center_line

    Republican Congress:-"We've seen much worse.No news here.We'll blame the Democrats.What can they do?Nothing.Ok guys let's go back to Mar-A-Lago.Trump is having lobster and steak tonight.I heard Halliburton is giving away free cars to the first 100 guest."

  • ogrot4

    White House Transcript

    Trump: (quickly adjusting himself) What is it Kelly, you know I don't like being disturbed during executive time.

    Kelly: Looking away, I'm sorry Mr. President, but this can't wait. We have a problem on our hands. The Porter Allegations have come out.

    Trump: Is that the guy I don't know from the Russia thing.

    Kelly: No that's Papadopolous.

    Trump: Who? (Grins and chuckles)

    Kelly: Good one sir. But no he's the guy that brings in your reports.

    Trump: Oh the guy with those huge hands. Love that guy. Tall too. I heard he's really smart, too.

    Kelly: Yes, sir. Apparently he has a past of domestic violence.

    Trump: So...

    Kelly: Maybe you should just see the picture. (hands over photo)

    Trump: Heh, didn't know that Porter kid was a Southpaw. You think he could help me with my jab in the gym? You know I remember the one time Ivanna didn't get dinner arranged, right. I'll tell you she made sure the cook never messed up the lasagna again. Just bury it. I'll tweet something crazy about Barrack Obama and it will blow over.

    Kelly: That's not all of it. Apparently he's dating Ms.Hicks--

    Trump: He's fired! Get his desk cleaned out and have him call Hope on the phone and break up with her! Have him tell her she's a six and he only dates eights. That one usually works. Have one of the aides bring a cd of light soothing jazz for me to play in the office, and when she gets in here crying we are not to be disturbed... Are we clear?

    Kelly: Yes, sir.

    Trump: (looking in a mirror) I'm not missing this rebound. No no. Not this time.

  • Hugh Jassle

    Maybe this is Trump's strategy working but does anyone else feel exhausted by all this stuff??? maybe he thinks everyone will be so beaten down by 2018 elections and 2020 that people won't show to vote

  • mik8888

    In other news, an exodus is beginning at the EPA...I don't think it's massive yet, but there are a bunch of them so far...

  • DougNJ

    Better than A. Christie's "And Then There Were None".
    Amazing how many of "Only Thee Best People" would fail current immigration vetting.

  • Rudi Stein

    White House regrets Trump not getting a dog. Now they cannot use the "dog ate the background check results" excuse.

  • BassPlyr73 Again

    The most disturbing part of this article by far is that there are "highly classified documents on the President's desk". I'd been hoping they keep that type of stuff away from Trump.

  • center_line

    The FBI told Trumps admin. back in July of last year that Porter could not get a full time pass to even get in the W.H.-SOMEONE in Trumps Admin. gave Porter a temporary (permanent) clearance to the W.H. and the most confidential material.Huckaliar says Trump had no idea until Tuesday of last week about this.
    What you want to bet Trump will blame the Democrats.Any takers?

  • Rubbed Sage

    Remember when Republicans cared about the handling of secured materials? Does "Lock her up! Lock her up!" ring a bell?

  • NuffAlready

    There goes the rest of the WH staff.

  • MauiOhana808

    DIVERSIONS!! DIVERSIONS!! DIVERSIONS!!!!
    WHEN THEY SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON
    RUSSIA! MONEY LAUNDERING! TREASON! OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE!!!!
    Aloha : D

  • David

    Dozens with interim security clearances in the WH, one of them is actually working on Middle East policy. Shrug your shoulders, obviously it's not a big deal to our Commander in Chief.

  • mik8888

    Poor Brad is getting upset now...so much fun...

  • B-K KnightRider

    Someone in the WH knowingly and intentionally allowed someone who cannot get a clearance to regularly have access to material classified TS and higher, and that material was clearly marked as classified. When do Trump's adoring fans start chanting "Lock him up" over and over?

  • pbgd

    Why are the Democrats so anxious to get General Kelly removed from the White House? Is he rubbing them the wrong way? If I were Trump I would keep him.

  • penguinsonarock

    I do believe Mr. Gowdy understands the serious nature of having a top secret security clearance. You know, the importance of FBI briefings. That's why we have separation of powers. So elected or appointed officials in different branches of government can't do whatever they want. Stick with it on this one, congressman Gowdy.

  • katerant

    Where is Paul Ryan? I've forgotten what he looks like, it's been so long.

  • Bud Simpson

    Anyone remember Trey Gowdy's last investigative committee chair?

  • katerant

    The resident troll is back. Don't feed the troll. He lives to annoy.

  • Deplorable Trump

    Nothing good can come out from GOP Congress.

  • Robin

    Does Gowdy look like at one time he took a huge shoe to the face?

  • Rudi Stein

    Huckabeast: the background check investigation was on going
    FBI - uh, buII s- we gave that to them like four separate times
    Huckabeast: uh (both eyes going crazy)...it got lost in an office

  • Marvin Ogravel

    Trey don't play. If there's something there he will follow through regardless of political parties.

  • Rubbed Sage

    Poor Huckabucka has been spinning like a top on this one. Kinda like watching Belushi doing cartwheels on SNL back in the old days.

  • Zqueen

    This White House is putting out self inflicted wounds/fires every day --- what in the world are they doing with our tax dollars and making the USA a better place?

  • mik8888

    Brad is Emulating other users now, I see...

  • Sal Monela

    Howdy Gowdy is going for a bit of a 'gangster' look, eh? I guess you can do that once you've made up your mind not to run for reelection?

  • Rubbed Sage

    Fox's Jeanine Pirro has already told us that Mr Trump's problem with hiring domestic abusers is Obama's fault. You know, like everybody in the Trump administration having Russia contacts is going to get Hillary put in jail. Makes perfect sense to the Foxheads.

  • hucky01

    Whether Gowdy is running again or not, the house itself is still run by ardent Trump followers and yes men/women. This investigation will go nowhere in a hurry! When they're done, it will get whitewashed.