FBI Director Wray Gave New Information That Contradicts the White House on the Porter Investigation

FBI Director Chris Wray gave new information on Tuesday to the Senate Intelligence Committee, and it directly contradicts the timeline that the White House offered regarding the departure of White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter’s departure, ABC News reports. Porter was accused of domestic abuse by two of his ex-wives.

Wray, according to NBC News, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the FBI completed the background investigation on Porter “in late July.” Wray also told the committee that the FBI responded the White House’s request for follow-up information in November, but ultimately closed the file in January.

“We administratively closed the file in January, and then earlier this month we received some additional information and we passed that on as well,” Wray told the committee.

The timeline appeared to contradict the White House’s narrative.

Wray told the committee on Tuesday that the FBI had concluded during its investigation that Porter’s past made him ineligible for a full security clearance, meaning that he wouldn't have a multi-year security clearance, ABC News reports. Porter, however, continued to work at the White House under a temporary security clearance.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Monday, “This is a process that doesn't operate within the White House. It's handled by our law enforcement and intelligence community and we support that process. It's the same process that's been used for decades and for previous administrations and we're relying on that process at this point.” She also added that the White House “had not received any specific papers regarding the completion of that background check.”

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Sanders said that the investigation was “ongoing,” adding that the White House Personnel Security Office had received information about Porter from the FBI last year, but it had not yet given a final recommendation to the White House on Porter’s security clearance, NBC News reports.

“The White House Personnel Security Office, staffed by career officials, received information last year in what they considered to be the final background investigation in November. But they had not made a final recommendation for adjudication to the White House, because the process was still ongoing when Rob Porter resigned,” Sanders said.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters last Thursday, which was Porter’s last day at the White House, that Porter’s background investigation was still ongoing with the FBI, NBC News reports.

According to ABC News, the FBI Director’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee undermines the White House’s defense of Porter, especially Shah’s statement last Thursday that it would have been premature to make a final decision on Porter’s security clearance when the investigation was still ongoing.

It can take several months to receive clearance, but the president has the authority to grant clearance to his staff members while the FBI investigates. According to NBC News, there are currently 30 to 40 White House officials operating under interim security clearances, including President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

About The Author

Emily Veith is a recent Cal Poly SLO graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science (and a Law and Society minor). Emily loves writing and talking about politics. She has worked on political campaigns and in legislative offices, and aspires to be a politician someday. Emily has also written numerous inspirational and empowering pieces for Project Wednesday. She is an old soul who loves Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Glenn Miller. When she isn't writing about imperative news- and political-related topics, she can be found attempting new recipes, playing her guitar, or reading a good mystery book. You can follow her on Twitter @EmsigirlWrites.