House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., says the White House's response to his panel's request for information on former staff secretary Rob Porter was "inadequate."
In a letter sent to Gowdy and Oversight ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., on Thursday, White House director of legislative affairs Marc Short declined to provide the requested details on how Porter was permitted to work for the White House with an interim security clearance even though the FBI had notified White House staff he faced allegations of domestic abuse.
“The Chairman finds the White House’s response inadequate, and we have communicated to the White House that we expect full compliance,” Gowdy spokeswoman Amanda Gonzalez said in a statement on Friday. “We are in the process of scheduling a meeting between Chairman Gowdy and the White House to discuss next steps.”
In the response letter from the White House, Short outlined how the Trump administration has made modifications to security clearance procedures, but did not provide the information on Porter requested by Gowdy.
“Consistent with your letters’ requests, we would be pleased to update you and others on the progress of the working group at the appropriate time,” Short said.
The White House’s response also prompted Cummings to call on Gowdy to issue subpoenas to obtain the documents Gowdy had requested.
Gowdy announced last month his committee would be opening an investigation into Porter's White House employment and sent a letter to chief of staff John Kelly requesting information on when any White House officials became aware of any “potential derogatory or disqualifying information” about Porter. The letter also asked about the White House’s policies related to interim security clearances for staffers and if those standards were applied to Porter’s interim and final security clearance.
The letter came the same day FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee the White House had received the results from Porter’s completed background check in July.
The fallout involving security clearances began when domestic abuse allegations against Porter came to light.
The Daily Mail published a report last month claiming Porter called his second wife a “fucking bitch” while they were on their honeymoon and grabbed her naked out the shower on one occasion. The report also featured a protective order that she obtained in 2010. Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, then told the Daily Mail in a separate report that the former White House aide had punched her face, choked her, and other abuses. The second report featured a photo of the first wife with a black eye.
After the reports came out, Porter announced he would be stepping down from his post, but denied the credibility of the abuse allegations.
Amid intense scrutiny, Kelly sent out a memo late last month declaring that the White House would be changing its security clearance process.