Trump aides were trying to 'move on' from Porter scandal even before shooting offered a 'reprieve'

Seventeen people killed in a school shooting was good news for the Donald Trump White House after a week of bad headlines, leaking, and infighting over how former staff secretary Rob Porter was allowed to keep his job despite a history of domestic violence preventing him from getting a permanent security clearance.

“For everyone, it was a distraction or a reprieve,” said one White House official, speaking anonymously to reflect internal conversations. “A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled.”

But even before the shooting, the White House was looking for ways to “move on” from the Porter scandal … and, in the grand tradition of the Trump administration, doing a half-assed version of it focused more on the headlines than on really making things better:

But Mr. Kelly’s memo [ordering a review of security clearance procedures] was more than just an attempt to move on, one White House official said. It was tantamount to a recognition that a system for dealing with a problem like the one involving Mr. Porter did not exist. […]

White House aides insist that the Kelly memo is not just a bid for better headlines — it would dramatically improve a clearance process that had gotten out of hand, they said. But what Mr. Kelly has not publicly proposed is investigating precisely how the unsettling episode occurred.

As if. Investigating how Porter stayed on staff long after Kelly and other senior aides knew that he had a security clearance problem as a result of domestic violence allegations might mean accountability, and that’s just not how this White House operates.