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Gowdy says House panel probing Rob Porter's security clearance

14 February 2018

The House Speaker did seem tongue-tied at one point, nearly suggesting that he didn't know what Trump had said about Porter, though that is common knowledge, and then switching tacts mid-sentence to refer, instead, to Porter's alleged actions.

The scandal has already called into question the judgment of senior members of the White House staff.

At a press conference on Wednesday, reporters reminded the Speaker that Trump has refused to publicly condemn former White House staffer Rob Porter for allegedly abusing his ex-wives and that the president has also declined to make a more generalized statement against domestic violence.

In a letter sent Wednesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Gowdy said the panel is investigating the interim security clearance process and "the extent to which any security clearance issued to Porter comported with those policies and processes". Two of Porter's ex-wives accused him of physical abuse, and told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents that he could be susceptible to blackmail.

"We are directing inquiries to people that we think have access to information we don't have". How do you have any job if you have credible allegations of domestic abuse? "I'll leave that to them", Ryan said. "And if they don't answer them, then they're going to need to give me a really good reason, and you'll learn that reason and you can judge whether or not it's a sufficient reason or not".

Although the email does not explain the reason for the new policy, it does appear to indicate that officials in the personnel security office, and maybe others in the White House, were aware as far back as past year of the potential problems of overreliance on interim security clearances.

Gowdy, unfortunately, appears to be focusing his investigation on the FBI, and not the White House.

Gowdy says House panel probing Rob Porter's security clearance