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The F.B.I. first gave the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, a file containing spousal abuse allegations against Rob Porter in March 2017, according to a detailed new timeline the bureau has given to Congress that casts further doubt on the West Wing’s account of how accusations against one of President Trump’s closest advisers were handled.
Mr. Porter, Mr. Trump’s staff secretary, resigned under pressure in February after allegations that he had been physically violent toward two former wives were aired in the press. The White House—which initially sprang to his defense—has issued several competing accounts of how Mr. Trump’s team handled the allegations, which they insisted no senior officials knew about until just before Mr. Porter left his job.
But in a letter this month to the leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is investigating how Mr. Porter could have received a security clearance given the allegations, a top official at the F.B.I. said that on March 3, 2017, the bureau sent a “partial report” on Mr. Porter “addressed to the Counsel to the President, Donald F. McGahn, which contained derogatory information.” A former federal law enforcement official said the violent abuse allegations were included in that file.
McGahn did not comment on the story to the Times but a White House official is pushing back, saying “Don never saw it.” The anonymous official says “The right people never saw it.” Supposedly McGahn was too busy dealing with the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch, like that was a thing to be managed what with the Republican Senate totally rolling over for him. When it comes to McGahn receiving the file that the FBI says they gave to him, either the White House or the FBI is lying about the contents of it. Because the White House says all that was in there was his basic employment information. That certainly wouldn’t have been enough to trigger Porter’s security clearance failure.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (which released the letter Thursday), made an important point. In a statement with the letter, Cummings says “White House officials ignored this information and continued granting Porter access to our nation’s most highly classified secrets—just as they did with Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner.” He also points out that the White House is “refusing to provide documents to the Oversight Committee, yet Chairman Gowdy refuses to issue a subpoena or demand interviews of White House staff that he promised.”