One day after putting it on the FBI, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders handed responsibility for the months-long delay in moving against Rob Porter to the White House Personnel Security Office.
In the time between her Monday briefing and her Tuesday briefing, FBI Director Christopher Wray had put in an appearance at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, responding to Sanders I Don’t Think So-ily, telling the committee it had flagged things it had learned about Porter’s security clearance nearly a year ago, and finished its investigation last July.
Also before Tuesday’s press briefing, CNN reported the White House had been mulling a promotion for Porter; Politico reported that, after Daily Mail broke the story in two reports on Porter’s alleged abuse of former spouses, reporters from Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Axios were called to Sanders’ office to talk about the allegations with Porter off the record.
Also Tuesday morning, White House chief of Staff John Kelly gave an interview to The Wall Street Journal insisting, of Porter, “It was all done right.”
Wray testified the FBI made the White House aware of Rob Porter’s domestic abuse against both of his two wives, impacting his ability to get needed security clearance, last summer. Wray’s testimony contradicted in a big way the explanation Sanders served up Monday as to who knew what when on allegations against the former White House Staff Secretary. Porter resigned Wednesday which, not coincidentally, came shortly after a Daily Mail report saying his two former wives both told the FBI he had physically and emotionally abused them.
One wife released a photograph of herself with a black eye she says Porter gave her.
Sanders distanced herself from White House upper muckety-mucks, like Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Counsel Don McGahn, telling reporters repeatedly she had to rely on information she had been given, and that it was the best she could do under the circumstances, until getting more clarity when those other senior staffers deign to brief her department properly. Her remarks suggested internecine squabbling on a pretty impressive impressive scale.
According to Sanders, the FBI may have wrapped its investigation, but the White House was awaiting guidance from its Personnel Security Office, which had not finished its process of making recommendations to the White House.