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Beyer Joins Maloney, Kuster Call for Answers in Rob Porter Scandal

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Washington, February 12, 2018 | comments

Congressman Don Beyer joined Representatives Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) and Annie Kuster (NH-02) in calling on White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly to answer questions as to what was known by senior Trump Administration staff regarding allegations of domestic violence by White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter. The letter follows reports that Chief of Staff Kelly knew about the allegations against Porter for months and that Porter was unable to obtain a necessary security clearance due to his violent history. The members are also requesting details of the White House’s policies regarding domestic violence.

Specifically, the members are requesting to know:

·         When did Chief of Staff Kelly learn that multiple women had alerted the FBI about Mr. Porter’s history of domestic violence?

·         What details were provided to Kelly about the abuse allegations against Mr. Porter?

·         What is the White House policy regarding domestic violence and what is the protocol for handling situations in which the White House is alerted to these allegations involving a member of staff?

·         Are there other White House employees who have security clearances pending because of allegations of domestic violence?

The letter was signed by Reps. Reps. Lois Frankel (FL-21), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Grace Napolitano (CA-33), Brendan Boyle (PA-13), Dina Titus (NV-01),  Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Cheri Bustos (IL-13), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Alma Adams (NC-12), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), David Cicilline (RI-01), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Paul Tokono (NY-20), and Grace Meng (NY-06).

“We are extremely concerned by reports of domestic violence by former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter,” the members wrote. “These reports appear to indicate that the Administration knowingly employed a man with a demonstrated pattern of violence against women and who did not possess the appropriate, permanent security clearance necessary for the position… Women and men throughout the country deserve to know the White House is committed to maintaining the highest level of integrity amongst its staff – particularly those who have been entrusted with our national security.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

February 9, 2018

General John Kelly
White House Chief of Staff
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear General Kelly,

We are extremely concerned by reports of domestic violence by former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter. These reports appear to indicate that the Administration knowingly employed a man with a demonstrated pattern of violence against women and who did not possess the appropriate, permanent security clearance necessary for the position.

As White House Staff Secretary, Mr. Porter undoubtedly read and handled extremely sensitive national security information on behalf of the President. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) learned of the allegations of physical abuse from two of his ex-wives in January 2017. These serious allegations prevented Mr. Porter from obtaining the permanent security clearance required for the role of Staff Secretary. According to several reports, senior White House officials were made aware of the allegations in early fall. Despite being aware of these morally reprehensible and security-compromising claims, Mr. Porter remained in the position.

In your role as Chief of Staff, you are aware of the rigorous FBI background checks individuals with access to this information must undergo to obtain the permanent security clearance required, and you are informed of any issues with clearing senior presidential personnel in the process. As such, we respectfully request answers to these questions:

(1)    When did you learn that multiple women had alerted the FBI about Mr. Porter’s history of domestic violence?

(2)    What details were provided to you about the abuse allegations against Mr. Porter?

(3)    What is the White House policy regarding domestic violence and what is the protocol for handling situations in which the White House is alerted to these allegations involving a member of staff?

(4)    Are there other White House employees who have security clearances pending because of allegations of domestic violence?

Furthermore, we direct you to the letter Ranking Member Cummings sent to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform dated February 8, 2018 requesting credible oversight of the security clearance process at the White House.  We strongly urge your cooperation in the matter should Chairman Gowdy make the request.

Women and men throughout the country deserve to know the White House is committed to maintaining the highest level of integrity amongst its staff – particularly those who have been entrusted with our national security.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

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