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

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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.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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