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Cummings Releases New FBI Letter Confirming White House Was Informed About Allegations Against Porter

Apr 26, 2018
Press Release

Cummings Releases New FBI Letter

Confirming White House Was Informed

About Allegations Against Porter

Washington, D.C. (Apr. 26, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released a letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) dated April 13, 2018, which provides detailed new information about five different updates it provided to the White House with derogatory information about Staff Secretary Robert Porter.

Cummings issued the following statement:

“The FBI has now confirmed that it repeatedly provided derogatory information to the White House about Rob Porter as far back as March of 2017.  But White House officials ignored this information and continued granting Porter access to our nation’s most highly classified secrets—just as they did with Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner.  The White House is now refusing to provide documents to the Oversight Committee, yet Chairman Gowdy refuses to issue a subpoena or demand interviews of White House staff that he promised.  This is the latest in a string of grave national security breaches at the highest levels of the Trump Administration, yet the White House is openly defying Congressional oversight while Chairman Gowdy refuses to issue a single subpoena to anyone—no matter how grave the abuse.”

In addition, the White House Counsel’s Office briefed Cummings and Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy on April 11, 2018, but refused to provide any backwards-looking information about the White House’s dysfunctional security clearance practices, instead providing information only about procedures going forward.

To date, Gowdy has refused to issue a subpoena, despite receiving virtually none of the documents he requested from the White House.

  • On February 14, 2018, Gowdy sent letters to the White House and FBI about Porter. 
  • On February 15, 2018, he sent a broader request to the White House seeking information about the extent to which White House officials have been working for extended periods with only interim security clearances.
  • On March 8, 2018, the White House responded with a five-paragraph letter that provided none of the information the Committee requested except a memo from Chief of Staff John Kelly that the Washington Post placed online nearly three weeks earlier.
  • On March 9, 2018, Cummings sent a letter to Gowdy requesting a subpoena or a vote, but Gowdy never responded.
  • During a Committee business meeting on March 15, 2018, Republicans blocked Democrats’ motion to subpoena security clearance documents from the White House.

Gowdy has not scheduled any of the interviews he said he was going to have with Kelly, McGahn, and others.  On February 14, 2018, Gowdy stated on CNN

“I would want to know from Don McGahn and General Kelly and anyone else:  What did you know, from whom did you hear it, to what extent did you hear it and then what actions, if any, did you take?  The chronology is not favorable from the White House.  When you have the head of the FBI saying we told you three times in 2017 and once more in 2018 for good measure then I think the really fair questions are:  what were you told, by whom were you told it, did you have some reason to question what the bureau told you, and if none of that is true, why did you keep him on.  So Don’s one person to ask, General Kelly is one person to ask, there may be others at the White House, but those are the questions going through my mind.”

The letter released today confirms that the FBI provided five different updates to the White House regarding Porter:

“Regarding your request for dates pertaining to Mr. Porter’s background investigation, the following information is provided.  On March 3, 2017, the FBI provided a partial report of investigation addressed to the Counsel to the President, Donald F. McGahn, which contained derogatory information.  On July 21, 2017, the FBI submitted a completed background investigation addressed to the EOP Personnel Security Division.  On August 17, 2017, the FBI received a request from the EOP Personnel Security Operations, requesting additional information, to include but not limited to, re-interviews of Mr. Porter, his ex-wives, and his girlfriend at the time.  On November 1, 2017, the FBI submitted a completed investigative report addressed to the EOP Personnel Security Division, which contained additional derogatory information. On January 3, 2017, the FBI's investigative file was administratively closed.  Following its closing of the background investigation, the FBI received additional information, which was provided in a memorandum addressed to the EOP Personnel Security Operations on February 7, 2018.”

 
 

 

115th Congress