FBI Alerted the White House to Rob Porter Red Flags Nearly a Year Ago

Christopher Wray undercuts the White House spin on what it knew about domestic violence allegations against the ex-aide.

Yin Bogu/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate