Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) — infamous partisan hack and former Benghazi witch hunter — has announced he intends to take action that seems starkly out of character for him.
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In his role as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Gowdy has announced that his committee has opened an investigation into ousted White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter. Porter left the Trump administration last week amidst allegations that he physically abused two former wives and a former girlfriend.
Colbie Holderness, a senior analyst for the federal government, was married to Porter for five years. She alleges repeated physical and emotional abuse at his hands. The accusations come on the tail of a similar story from Porter’s second wife Jennifer Willoughby. Porter is accused of punching, kicking, and choking the women.
“I was his first wife and it wasn’t until there was a second wife and then a long-time girlfriend reaching out to me, who was experiencing some weird things. I started to realize that he keeps getting away with it. It’s a pattern now, it hasn’t gone away,” Holderness said to The Daily Mail.
Senior White House aide Rob Porter physically assaulted two ex-wives, they tell @theintercept. Full story to come in the morning.
His first wife, Colbie Holderness, provided these photos from a vacation they took together in Florence, Italy: pic.twitter.com/tl3TbyGA8Y
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 7, 2018
Since Porter’s departure, the Trump team has been embroiled in controversy as it seems that they knew about the credible allegations and chose to keep Porter on for over a year, despite the fact that the abuse reports prevented him from receiving his official security clearance.
The Hill reports that Gowdy has sent a letter to the White House asking why Porter was allowed to stay on despite his inability to pass his security clearance background check.
“We are directing inquiries to people that we think have access to information we don’t have. You can call it official. You can call it unofficial. Those words don’t mean anything to me. What means something to me is I’m going to direct questions to the FBI that I expect them to answer,” Gowdy said to CNN.
Additionally, Gowdy wrote a letter to Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray to ask about the interim security clearance protocols that allowed Porter to do his job. He also asked Wray for information on when precisely the FBI informed the administration about the abuse allegations.
Yesterday, Wray testified that the FBI concluded its investigation of Porter in July but informed the White House of their findings in November and January. His testimony contradicts the official story that the White House has been putting out.
“I can’t get into the content of what was briefed, what I can tell you is the FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March, and then a completed background investigation in late July. Soon thereafter we received request for follow-up inquiry and we did the follow-up and provided that information in November and then we administratively closed the file in January. And then earlier this month, we received additional information and we passed that on as well,” Wray said to the Senate Intelligence Commitee.
Wray also insisted that the FBI conducted itself properly during the background check process for Porter, saying that the agents involved followed protocols that have been in place for decades.
The Hill reports that Gowdy sent an additional letter to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly today, demanding to know when the administration first learned of any “potential derogatory or disqualifying information” about Porter.
“I would want to know from Don McGahn and General Kelly and anyone else: What did you know, from whom did you hear it, to what extent did you hear it and then what actions, if any, did you take? The chronology is not favorable from the White House,” Gowdy said according to CNN.
Gowdy previously announced his intention to retire from Congressional life. So perhaps this latest probe, which uncharacteristically targets members of his own party, is a last ditch effort to patch up his legacy for posterity.