FBI director contradicts White House's Porter timeline
12:12 PM, Feb 13, 2018
12:52 PM, Feb 13, 2018
FBI Director Chris Wray upended the White House's stated timeline of information about disgraced aide Rob Porter on Tuesday, as he outlined when the agency briefed officials on the matter.
The White House was repeatedly briefed on the FBI's background investigation into the former White House staff secretary that uncovered allegations of domestic abuse before those allegations became public, Wray said.
"I can't get into the content of what was briefed to the White House ... What I can tell you is that the FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March. And then a completed background investigation in late July. That soon thereafter, we received request for follow-up inquiry and we did the follow-up and provided that information in November and that we administratively closed the file in January," Wray said during congressional testimony Tuesday.
Wray declined to say what information was specifically provided to the White House, but said the FBI provided periodic updates on its investigation in March, July and November before closing its background check investigation into Porter in January.
The timeline contradicts claims the White House has made in the wake of Porter's resignation last week about Porter's background check information and when the White House was briefed on the investigation.
His anticipated elevation further highlights how top White House officials were willing to overlook indications from the FBI that there were potential abuse allegations in his background in exchange for professional competence in a tumultuous West Wing.
Wray added that the FBI "received some additional information" earlier this month and "passed that along as well."
White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah claimed Thursday that the FBI's background investigation into Porter was "ongoing."
"His background investigation was ongoing," Shah said. "In this instance, in the case of Rob Porter, we relied on the background check investigative process. That process hadn't been completed, so we were relying on the information that we had."
The White House has also maintained that it did not learn of the extent of the allegations against Porter until the allegations became public last week.
The FBI interviewed at least one of Porter's ex-wives who claimed Porter abused her in January 2017 -- months before the FBI's first update to the White House on his investigation.