Federal investigators have accused Rob Porter’s ex-wife of attempting to suppress phone records that might have supported claims of domestic abuse, but law enforcement officials say they have no evidence of abusive behavior during their official investigation into the former White House staff secretary.
Still, they have sought to obtain records from the FBI, reviewing records from Porter’s divorce in addition to a police report on the incident involving Porter’s wife, Colbie Holderness.
“The Department of Justice is preparing to turn over the required documents relating to this matter,” Department of Justice spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Friday in a statement. She declined to give details on the search.
The search was sought to collect notes from the FBI, which had been collecting evidence in its investigation of Porter’s background when he resigned as Trump’s staff secretary on Nov. 9, according to people familiar with the matter.
These individuals cautioned that the Senate Intelligence Committee probe will continue, and that when the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform receives the FBI documents, they will examine them for evidence of wrongdoing by the White House.
Catherine Frazier, spokeswoman for the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she has no knowledge of the FBI’s search, but the committee has “been fully cooperating with these requests.”
“Senator Mark Warner, the chairman of the committee, has also been in contact with the White House Counsel’s Office and has been provided with additional information,” she said.
Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., wrote to Trump’s administration on Tuesday asking for detailed information about allegations of abuse that have surfaced against Porter, arguing that evidence of harm to the wife could help determine how any White House response to the allegations was handled.
Wyden and Heinrich asked for details on the extent of the White House’s involvement with Porter’s staff secretary security clearance and whether the administration considered a report of abuse before allowing Porter to remain in the position. The senators said they also want to know if anyone at the White House recommended to the White House that Porter be allowed to resign and whether Trump knew that Porter had a history of domestic violence.
A White House spokesman has declined to say whether the allegations against Porter were ever brought to Trump’s attention.
The White House has released an account of how Porter’s resignation unfolded, but officials who have spoken with White House chief of staff John Kelly, Trump and senior aide Stephen Miller have said that they did not become aware of accusations of abuse against Porter until early this month. The officials said that, in the wake of the accusations, Kelly intervened to end Porter’s employment as a White House staffer.
Politico reported that an aide told the FBI about Porter’s alleged abuse as early as April, shortly after Porter had joined the White House. The FBI confirmed that it received the allegation, but said that no reports of alleged abuse were made during Porter’s background check.
The agency said it stood by the timeline it provided.
Read more details about the allegations against Porter here:
Read the Jan. 6 memo at Politico:
Here’s the White House document outlining what they found in the background check completed by the FBI:https://t.co/m3cwJvl66d — Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) December 22, 2018
Read the court docs filed by Colbie Holderness, Porter’s ex-wife, filed in July, showing a series of alleged assaults against Porter over the years:https://t.co/h6I5OxghKb pic.twitter.com/pdCrTIgBvo — Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) December 22, 2018
Read the social media posts made by Holderness: