Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hung Out To Dry

The White House has been dogged for days now by questions stemming from allegations of domestic abuse from two of White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter’s ex-wives. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said action was taken last week when officials became aware of the allegations and that the investigation was “ongoing”.
During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified that his agency informed the White House as early as March 2017 about at least some of the findings of a background check on Porter as part of his security clearance application.
Responding to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) during the Committee hearing, Wray spelled out the process in which the FBI briefed the White House while Porter was operating with a temporary clearance and had access to some of America's most closely held secrets. 
“The FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March, and then a completed background investigation in late July,” Wray said, adding that “soon thereafter we received requests for follow-up inquiry, and we did the follow-up and provided that information in November.”
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Tuesday, without mentioning Porter by name, that while it can be “necessary to have some type of preliminary clearance to fill a slot, people with such temporary statuses shouldn't have the same contact with classified material as people with permanent clearances. Access has to be limited in terms of the kinds of information they can be in a position to receive or not receive,” Coats said.
According to The Washington Post, White House Counsel Donald McGahn knew one year ago Porter’s ex-wives were prepared to make damaging accusations about him that could threaten his security clearance but allowed him to serve as an influential gatekeeper and aide to President Trump without investigating the accusations, according to people familiar with the matter.
Emily Jashinsky, a former spokeswoman for Young America’s Foundation noted, “No matter how decent McGahn and Kelly thought Porter to be, and no matter how convincing they found his denials, pursuing the truth about someone with so much responsibility in the White House should have been a top priority, if even to dismiss the allegations and take steps to ensure he wasn't susceptible to blackmail, or wasn't a threat to any of their female staff. We need more information, but what we already know is disappointing.
The Porter story has undermined John Kelly’s credibility and reputation.  This scandal is sucking all the oxygen out of the room.
Between you and me, I don’t trust Christopher Wray. He strikes me as being a bit of a weasel, but lawdy, Maxine Waters is buying what he’s selling:

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