House panel launches investigation of Rob Porter's security clearance

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Ryan was asked Wednesday about whether the White House should condemn domestic violence, which President Donald Trump has refused to do in the wake of allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter.

Now, House Republicans have made a decision to open an investigation to get some clarity.

This comes as the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, said that he is investigating interim security clearances and the way they were handled in Porter's case. "How in the hell was he still employed?"

"The chronology is not favorable for the White House", Gowdy said of reports the Federal Bureau of Investigation repeatedly told Republican President Donald Trump's administration about the allegations and warned that Porter should not be given access to sensitive information.

Porter resigned last week as allegations from two ex-wives, and specifically a photo showing one ex-wife with a bruised face, emerged. He tweeted on Saturday, for example, that "lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation".

The White House has repeatedly said that Porter's "background investigation was ongoing" when he resigned his position, and that the first the White House learned of the allegations against him was last Tuesday.

Gowdy notes in the letter that he wants answers to those and several other questions in two weeks, by February 28.

"We do have jurisdiction over the security clearance process - I do not have jurisdiction over the president hires", Gowdy said. The FBI is not responsible for issuing security clearances - that's done through the White House.

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Trump's updated disclosure form shows that Kushner appears to have tapped three different lines of credit since he began working at the White House.

He added that he was "troubled by nearly every aspect" of Porter's employment at the White House.

A senior administration official said as many as two dozen senior officials don't hold permanent clearances.

Coats said, "We have a broken system and I think everybody's come to agree with that now". Kelly does not enjoy the confidence of an increasing number of his subordinates, some of whom said they believe that the retired four-star Marine Corps general has misled them.

'What did you know, from whom did you hear it?' Gowdy said.

Jennifer Willoughby, the ex-wife of Porter.


The White House approach has drawn criticism even from Trump's own party. Joni Ernst told CNN about a report that the White House arranged for Porter to defend himself privately to reporters after the allegations surfaced.

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