FBI says it told White House about Porter abuse allegations in March 2017

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The FBI told Congress on Thursday that the agency informed White House officials about domestic abuse allegations against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter in March of last year, contradicting claims made by top Trump administration officials.

The FBI presented Congress with a timeline of events surrounding its investigation into Porter for his security clearance, which included a letter to the White House in March of last year that reportedly included the domestic abuse allegations.

In a letter to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a top FBI official says that the agency provided a “partial report” on Porter “addressed to the Counsel to the President, Donald F. McGahn, which contained derogatory information” about Porter.


An anonymous White House official told The New York Times that McGahn never saw the letter, which was instead passed on to another member of the White House personnel security office.

“Don never saw it,” the official said. “The right people never saw it.”

In a statement, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the Oversight panel’s ranking Democrat, blasted White House officials for ignoring information about Porter’s alleged abuse of his ex-wives.

“The F.B.I. has now confirmed that it repeatedly provided derogatory information to the White House about Rob Porter as far back as March of 2017,” he said. “But 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.”

Two of Porter’s ex-wives, Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby, told the Daily Mail that they experienced physical and emotional abuse during their marriages to the former Trump aide.

The paper published a 2010 protective order obtained by Porter’s second wife, while photos surfaced online of his first wife’s battered and injured face that she claimed resulted from Porter’s abuse.

Porter denied the claims in a statement, calling them “outrageous” and part of a “smear campaign.”

“These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,” he said.

Porter resigned in February.

White House officials including chief of staff John Kelly have been criticized for initially defending Porter. Questions have swirled over how long they knew about the allegations from his ex-wives before acting.

Kelly in February said he first learned of the allegations against Porter through media reports.

“The man we all knew, it was an absolute shock,” Kelly said.

Tags Elijah Cummings Elijah Cummings FBI House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Jared Kushner John Kelly Rob Porter
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