- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2018

Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform have urged the panel’s chairman to accelerate investigating White House security clearance issues following reports that Staff Secretary Robert Porter retained his position despite never being granted a permanent clearance.

On Wednesday, in the wake of accusations by two ex-wives that he abused them, Mr. Porter resigned. The 40-year-old Rhodes Scholar and former chief of staff for Sen. Orrin Hatch denied the accusations but said he refused to fight a “smear campaign” in public.

On Thursday, questions remained about his White House security clearance — a complicated matter given his position in the White House and the amount of sensitive material he would have been around.

Earlier this week the British paper, The Daily Mail — which first unearthed the domestic abuse accusations — also reported that Mr. Porter was never given security clearance.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders would not comment on the issue.

Further reporting by The Intercept news website revealed that FBI officials learned of the domestic abuse allegations against Mr. Porter while conducting a background check on him.

“If you had agreed to any of our previous requests for information on these matters,” Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the committee’s top Democrat wrote in a letter on Thursday to Chairman Trey Gowdy, “the White House would have been required to answer key questions about why Mr. Porter was denied a final security clearance, who at the White House was aware of this information, and how Mr. Porter was allowed to remain in his position.”

“Instead,” he added, “because of your multiple refusals, we did not find out about any of these issues until they were reported in the press. In this and many, many other areas, it appears that the Oversight Committee has constructed a wall around the White House in order to prevent any credible oversight whatsoever.”

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