White House Was Warned of Aide’s Background Months Earlier Than Acknowledged

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WASHINGTON — Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, contradicted on Tuesday the White House timeline about the domestic abuse scandal involving Rob Porter, the president’s former staff secretary. Mr. Wray said that the bureau delivered to the White House a partial report on problems in Mr. Porter’s background in March, months earlier than the White House has admitted receiving the information.

Mr. Porter, one of President Trump’s top aides, was forced to resign last week after allegations of abuse by his two ex-wives were made public, sparking a week of shifting explanations by White House officials about who knew about Mr. Porter’s past and when they knew it.

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Wray did not disclose the contents of the bureau’s inquiry. But he said that after the partial report in March, the F.B.I. gave the White House “a completed background investigation” in late July. He said the bureau received a request for a “follow-up inquiry” and provided more information about Mr. Porter’s background to the White House in November.

He also said that Mr. Porter’s background check investigation was “administratively closed” in January, weeks before the allegations against Mr. Porter were publicly known.

Mr. Wray said he was “quite confident” that established protocol was followed.

But the timeline Mr. Wray provided is at odds with the latest explanation from White House officials, who have never mentioned any contact by the F.B.I. in March.

Officials have said the security office at the White House was first contacted by the F.B.I. in July, and again in November. But White House officials also have insisted that the investigation into Mr. Porter’s background was never completed.

“His background investigation was ongoing,” Raj Shah, the deputy White House press secretary, told reporters on Thursday. “He was operating on an interim security clearance. His clearance was never denied, and he resigned.”

Mr. Wray said on Tuesday that while the background investigation was closed in January, the bureau “received some additional information” after the file was closed and passed that on to the White House as well.

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