Gowdy launches probe into Rob Porter’s White House employment

Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Wednesday the panel has launched an investigation into the White House's handling of former staff secretary Rob Porter's employment following days of questions about when the administration first learned of his domestic abuse allegations.

Gowdy, a Republican from South Carolina, sent letters to FBI Director Christopher Wray and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly requesting detailed information about Porter's security clearance process, the bureau's background check and when any White House employees became aware of "derogatory or disqualifying" information about Porter.

Porter, who was a close aide to President Donald Trump, resigned last week, a day after his two ex-wives went public with allegations of verbal and physical abuse. Gowdy said the Oversight panel launched the probe Tuesday night.

Gowdy told CNN on Wednesday he was troubled by Porter's employment at the White House given his history as well as the fact that he was working with an interim security clearance that allowed him access to classified information.

"I spent two decades believing women and children who alleged abuse, even sometimes when no one else did, so whether or not there’s a security clearance issue or not, I have real questions about how someone like this could be considered for employment whether there’s a security clearance or not," Gowdy told CNN.

RELATED: Rob Porter in his White House role

11 PHOTOS
Rob Porter in his White House role
See Gallery
Rob Porter in his White House role
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 2: White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter watches as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with North Korean defectors in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC on Friday, Feb. 02, 2018. President Donald Trump talked to reporters and members of the media about the release of a secret memo on the F.B.I.'s role in the Russia inquiry. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter to depart with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard the Marine One helicopter from the White House in Washington, U.S. November 29, 2017. Picture taken November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (C) says hello to reporters as he and White House advisors Sebastian Gorka (from L), Omarosa Manigault and Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci accompany President Trump for an event celebrating veterans at AMVETS Post 44 in Struthers, Ohio, U.S., July 25, 2017. Jonathan Ernst: "The most visible person in any White House is naturally the President, followed by the press secretary. But there are also the staff who support them, any one of whom might suddenly jump into public view and be national news for a day or two. For those of us covering the President Trump administration, there seem to be more compelling figures in the West Wing than ever before. It's crucial to know who's who and why they're important. When I raised my camera and back-pedalled ahead of the group to take this image Lewandowski gave me a hello and pointed right into the lens. I liked the photo, but had no idea it would go a little bit viral, especially since Scaramucci, who was the biggest mover and shaker that week, was hidden back in the pack. But I guess the image catches a glimpse of what it's like to be a West Wing staffer on the road."REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File photo SEARCH "POY STORY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 01: Rob Porter, right, White House staff secretary, and Don McGahn, White House counsel, attend a luncheon featuring a speech by President Donald Trump at the House and Senate Republican retreat at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., on February 1, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Stephen Miller, White House senior advisor for policy, right, talks to Rob Porter, White House staff secretary, after arriving on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. In a speech to congressional Republicans at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia today, Trump recognized the party's leadership and then riffed on his election. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: White House chief of staff John Kelly, (L), walks with staff secretary Rob Porter, (C), and White House senior advisor Stephen Miller, before boarding Marine One to depart from the White House with President Donald Trump, on February 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 05: White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (L) and Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller (C) return to the White House after a day trip with President Donald Trump to Cincinnati, Ohio, February 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. While in Ohio President Trump delivered remarks after touring cylinder manufacturer Sheffer Corporation while the first lady Melania Trump visited patients and their families at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, right, Stephen Miller, White House senior advisor for policy, left, and Rob Porter, White House staff secretary, walk toward the White House after arriving on Marine One with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. Trump today threw a wrench into negotiations over a shutdown-avoiding spending bill by saying he didn't want a provision funding children's health insurance in the short-term measure. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter to depart with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard the Marine One helicopter from the White House in Washington, U.S. November 29, 2017. Picture taken November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (L) arrives aboard Air Force One with fellow senior staff and U.S. President Donald Trump for a summer vacation at his Bedminster estate, at Morristown Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, U.S. August 4, 2017. Picture taken August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn (R) talks with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (L) as they arrive with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One at Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S. September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In the days following the news, the White House revised its version of events. On Tuesday, Wray contradicted earlier claims from the administration that the background investigation into Porter was ongoing, revealing the bureau had finished its report long before Porter was fired over allegations of domestic abuse and briefed the White House three times in March, July and November of 2017.

The White House then said later on Tuesday that the "White House personnel security office" did not fully pass FBI reports about those allegations to top West Wing aides because staffers had not yet made a final recommendation on Porter's security clearance.

"What I want to know from Chris Wray is, what specificity did you learn, when did you learn it, and with whom did you share it, and when did you share it?" Gowdy said.

"I got the dates, I heard that, but my follow up question is, 'Okay Chris, how thorough was the investigation, what did you share, with whom did you share it, and what were the updates? If you updated the information four times, what was the second, third, fourth iteration of that update?' I’m with you on the chronology, I’m with you there, I got that, but I have additional questions for the FBI and then once you get the answers from that, you know who to direct your inquiries at the White House." 

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.