House panel launches investigation of Rob Porter's security clearance

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House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Wednesday the revelations were a sign of a "breakdown in the system".

Ryan, who never met a word he didn't mince, was unusually candid in his response, though did not respond to the president by name.

Dan Coats' assessment came in a telephone interview with The Associated Press as questions swirl about a top White House aide who maintained access to highly sensitive information and the president himself despite accusations of domestic violence. "And if they don't answer them, then they're going to need to give me a really good reason", he said.

"The White House personnel security office, staffed by career officials, received information previous year in what they considered to be the final background investigation report in November", Sanders said.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday told lawmakers the agency completed its background check on Porter in July, contradicting the White House's earlier assertion that investigations into Porter had not yet been completed.

This comes as the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, said that he is investigating interim security clearances and the way they were handled in Porter's case.

The White House continues to stand by Chief of Staff John Kelly despite calls for his resignation. He called for limits on the information made accessible to those with temporary clearances - a practice that is now not followed in the West Wing, an official said.

Wray's testimony on Tuesday marked the latest development in a scandal that has called into question the judgment of senior members of the White House staff, put new stress on the administration's already strained credibility with the public, and drawn accusations of tone-deaf handling of abuse allegations. 'The chronology is not favorable from the White House'.

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Meanwhile, Colbie Holderness, Porter's first wife, pushed back against comments made by presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway that seemed to suggest strong women can't be victims of domestic violence.

'Who knew what when and to what extent - those are the questions that I think ought to be asked.

'What did you know, from whom did you hear it?' Gowdy said.

Both of Porter's ex-wives said they were interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in January 2017, shortly after his appointment as staff secretary, and they each reported their abuse allegations to investigators. "I beg to differ".

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