FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, throwing yet another kink into the already convoluted controversy surrounding former White House staff secretary Rob Porter.
It seems that the FBI and the Trump administration have differing versions as to when the White House first learned of the domestic abuse allegations surrounding the embattled former staffer, and Mediaite report.
During his testimony, Wray indicated the White House was allegedly informed about this last summer, and that the FBI followed protocol. However, Wray added, there was a limit to how much he could reveal.
“I would say that the background investigation process involves a fairly elaborate set of standards, guidelines, protocols, agreements, et cetera, in place for 20-plus years. And I’m quite confident that in this particular instance the FBI followed the established protocols.”
Responding to questions from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Wray said investigators submitted a partial report about their investigation of Porter back in March 2017, and that the investigation ended in July.
The FBI also provided the White House with additional information in November and January. He told Wyden:
“I can’t get into the content of what was briefed; what I can tell you is the FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March, and then a completed background in late July.”
“Soon thereafter we received request for follow-up inquiry and we did the follow-up and provided that information in November and then we administratively closed the file in January. And then earlier this month, we received additional information and we passed that on as well.”
But as NBC’s Peter Alexander notes, this contradicts a statement made by the White House.
🚨 FBI Director Chris Wray says FBI closed the file on Rob Porter in January.
That contradicts with WH claim: “[Porter’s] background investigation was ongoing” when allegations became public February 6.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) February 13, 2018
On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the White House learned the full extent regarding the Porter allegations last Tuesday.
She added that Wray’s testimony does not contradict the White House’s account of how it handled the allegations against Porter. Yes, the FBI’s background investigation was closed, but a White House Personnel Security Office investigation was still being conducted. Sanders said:
“The process was still ongoing when Rob Porter resigned.”
Then she added:
“The White House Personnel Security Office, which is staffed by career officials, may have received information. But they had not completed their process and made a recommendation to the White House for adjudication.”
Wray’s testimony has turned into another stumbling block for the Trump administration, which has been trying unsuccessfully to disassociate itself from the Porter scandal since it began a week ago.
This put the Trump administration in damage control mode, again. Just like so many times before.
You can watch Wray’s testimony in the video below.
Featured image YouTube video.