Federal Bureau of Investigation boss contradicts White House on Porter clearance

FBI Director Christpher Wray warned the White House security clearance process is broken after Rob Porter was given an interim clearance

FBI Director Christpher Wray warned the White House security clearance process is broken after Rob Porter was given an interim clearance

It's sign of a White House with an insular, bunker mentality where the first instinct is to protect someone who has been loyal like Flynn, or someone competent and professional that White House officials feel they can't do without like Porter.

CNN has reported the president believes Hicks put her own priorities ahead of the White House by defending Porter.

Sanders also said "the president and chief of staff have had full confidence and trust in his abilities and his performance".

The FBI revelations were an embarrassment for the White House, where Sanders was forced to revise the official account of when top officials learned of the allegations against Porter. "And there's no place for it in this country, there's no place for it in this White House, and the president won't stand for it". But the president has been out against domestic violence for a long time. FBI Director Christopher Wray said the FBI submitted a partial report on the Porter investigation in March 2017 and completed a background investigation in late July.

But Sanders, diminished by her debunked narrative of the day before, also repeatedly distanced herself from her superiors, giving the impression that she was not fully convinced of the truth of information she was telling the press.

"You relied upon it, and you got burned, because you had a two-time accused domestic abuser there at a very sensitive position where perhaps he shouldn't have been had that been fully exposed", Kilmeade said.

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She added to the impression of a divided and rudderless White House ship by saying: "The press team's not going to be as read-in, maybe, as some other elements at a given moment on a variety of topics".

But she insisted that "we relay the best and most accurate information we have" and that "I've done the best I can".

The chief of staff, who some claimed would bring order and discipline to the perpetually teetering Trump White House, defended Porter's character, even after the allegations were reported last Tuesday.

Kelly's role in the saga immediately raised questions. For instance, Kelly claimed that he acted "within 40 minutes" to dismiss Porter from his post after he learned about the allegations.

Granting new employees an interim clearance is not unusual.

Trump tweeted last week that a controversial declassified memo issued by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee "totally vindicates" him in the Russian Federation probe, Wray repeated the Federal Bureau of Investigation judgment that the memo was inaccurate because it left out important facts.

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This timeline appears to contradict the White House, which has said the background-check investigation was ongoing and that officials did not know about the allegations against Porter until recently. Top officials should have and may have known for months about Porter's problems.

Such is the confusion and mess of shifting explanations, it looks like a situation that only a robust presidential intervention can cure. Porter denied harming either of them.

But that kind of personal accountability seems highly unlikely for a President whose personal code precludes him from admitting mistakes.

The thrice-married Trump added a new chapter to his hard history with female voters in the past week by refusing to offer public words of support to the ex-wives of two senior presidential aides. "You can't just say an interim allows me to do anything". "I think he needs to be more explicit; he needs to be more deliberate in talking about this issue", said Steve Cortes, a former Trump campaign adviser, on CNN.

He said he tells them to let their work speak for itself. Recent reports have suggested he knew about the allegations against Porter for months before his resignation. Or that he isn't going to pay off the entire national debt in 8 years.

If Kelly is unable to clean up the mess, the question must then be asked whether it will ever be quelled with him still at the White House.

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She would not say who allowed Porter to stay in his role for more than a year without permanent clearance or answer whether the personnel security office communicated with Kelly and other top officials as the Federal Bureau of Investigation began reporting its findings.

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