FBI director gives new details that contradict White House timeline of Rob Porter’s departure

FBI Director Chris Wray offered new details on Tuesday that directly contradict the White House’s account of the timeline leading to former White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s departure following allegations of domestic abuse from two of his ex-wives.

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Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the FBI completed its background investigation of Porter “in late July.” The FBI then responded to requests for follow up information in November, and finally “administratively closed the file in January … earlier this month we received some additional information and we passed that along as well,” Wray said.

The timeline laid out in Wray’s testimony before Congress sharply departs from the narrative offered by the White House last week.

As the allegations of violence came to light — including graphic photos of one ex-wife with facial bruising and a black eye and a haunting description of violence from a second ex-wife — the White House repeatedly claimed the background investigation needed for Porter’s security clearance was ongoing as of last week when he resigned.

The FBI, Wray said on Tuesday, had concluded months earlier that Porter’s past made him ineligible for a full (multi-year) security clearance. Porter then continued to work at the White House under a temporary security clearance.

In Tuesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders maintained that the investigation was “ongoing” and the White House personnel security office did not make a final recommendation on Porter for the administration.

“The White House Personnel Security Office, staffed by career officials, received information last year in what they considered to be the final background investigation in November. But they had not made a final recommendation for adjudication to…

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