FBI Director Christopher Wray—handpicked by Donald Trump—politely calls BS on the White House’s excuses for keeping Rob Porter on staff long after his ex-wives told the FBI, as part of his security clearance process, that he had abused them. The White House story, as told by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday, was that “we let the process play out. It was ongoing, hadn’t been completed.” But Wray makes clear they had plenty of chances to know the story:
FBI Director Wray, re: Porter: We submitted a partial report in March to WH, a completed background investigation in July. We were asked to do followup, which we provided in November, and closed the file in January.
— Devlin Barrett (@DevlinBarrett) February 13, 2018
The FBI gave a partial report, a completed investigation, and a follow-up, all by November. They closed the file in January. The media reports on Porter came a week into February and still caught the White House by surprise. Chief of Staff John Kelly still made a glowing statement about Porter as and in the hours after the media reports broke.
Let’s go back to Sarah Sanders:
Again, I can’t get into the specifics. I can tell you that we were — the process for the background was ongoing, and the White House had not received any specific papers regarding the completion of that background check. So I can’t go any further than what we’ve already said on that front.
The White House had not received “specific papers,” and apparently when you have a completed background investigation and a follow-up saying that a man should not get security clearance because he abuses his wives, you need “specific papers” to decide that maybe he shouldn’t be working in a sensitive position in the White House.
They knew. They didn’t care.