WASHINGTON (AP) - FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday the agency provided the White House with information twice last year about the top Trump aide who resigned as staff secretary last week after domestic violence allegations from two ex-wives became public.
Wray said the bureau closed its background investigation on Rob Porter in January, weeks before the allegations were published.
That timeline called into question White House assertions that Porter’s “background investigation was ongoing” when he resigned his position, and that the first the White House learned of the detailed allegations against him was last Tuesday.
Porter had been serving with an interim security clearance while his background check was pending, the White House said, a common occurrence for officials in a government facing a backlog of hundreds of thousands of such reviews.
As questions swirled about how Porter kept his access to highly sensitive information and President Donald Trump despite accusations of domestic violence, the administration’s intelligence chief told The Associated Press that the government’s system of security clearances for top officials is “broken” and must be completely overhauled.
Dan Coats’ assessment in a telephone interview came just before he briefed lawmakers on Capitol Hill about global threats facing the United States. Coats was immediately confronted Tuesday by a top Democratic senator about continued questions about Porter, who resigned as Trump’s staff secretary after the stories emerged detailing his ex-wives’ accounts of abuse.
“We have a broken system and I think everybody’s come to agree with that now,” Coats told the AP.
As for Porter, Wray said the FBI submitted a “partial report on the investigation in question” in March 2017 and a completed background investigation in late July. Soon after that, the agency received a request for a follow-up inquiry, and it provided that information in November, Wray said.