The White House changed its story on Tuesday on how it handled allegations of spousal abuse against Rob Porter, the staff secretary who quit in disgrace last week. Officials conceded that the FBI told White House career officials last summer about problems in Porter’s background check. Top advisers in the West Wing were kept in the dark. The White House revised its version of events after testimony by FBI director, Christopher Wray, contradicted earlier and shifting White House claims, the New York Times reports. Wray said the FBI had given the White House final results in January of its background investigation on Porter. That account was directly at odds with assertions by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said Porter’s background check was still underway when the domestic violence abuse allegations from his two former wives came to light last week in news reports.
Wray’s words suggested that Porter, who had been given an interim security clearance, was allowed to continue serving in his influential post long after officials had received word of the troublesome accusations. Wray’s testimony raised questions about the credibility of Trump’s most senior advisers and the degree of tolerance they may have shown to a colleague apparently eager to cover up a past. Wray said the FBI updated the White House three times in 2017 — in March, July and November — about Porter’s background check as it progressed. Sanders insisted that senior West Wing officials had not learned about the allegations against Porter until they surfaced in The Daily Mail because the FBI gave the information to the White House Personnel Security Office, which handles security clearances.