The FBI informed the White House nearly a year ago about issues in a top aide’s past that were preventing him from obtaining a security clearance.
Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, FBI director Christopher Wray contradicted statements by the White House concerning when it learned about the domestic violence allegations against White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned last week after his two ex-wives accused him publicly of verbal and physical abuse.
The scandal has prompted alarm over Porter’s role in handling classified information, despite lacking a full security clearance to do so.
“The FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March and then a completed background investigation in late July,” Wray told the Senate intelligence panel. “Soon thereafter we received a request for follow up inquiry and we did the follow up and provided that information in November and that we administratively closed the file in January. Earlier this month we received some additional information and passed that along as well.”
Wray expressed confidence that the FBI had followed established protocols for Porter’s background check.
Chief of staff John Kelly, who initially released a statement supporting Porter, and White House counsel Don McGahn have been under intense fire over their handling of the accusations. The White House has claimed it initially heard from the FBI concerning Porter’s clearance in July and it has maintained the bureau’s investigation into Porter was ongoing. According to Wray, the FBI’s investigation was in fact closed last month.