Transcript for FBI director says agents gave White House reports on Rob Porter 4 times
And we begin with the domestic abuse firestorm consuming the west wing again tonight. This evening, the FBI contradicting the timeline given by the white house, saying they informed the white house four times about rob porter's past. The president asked again tonight, after offering words of support for porter, does he have any message for the women? Two ex-wives accusing porter of abuse. The white house claiming it only fully learned about the allegations last week. But that is not what FBI director Christopher WRAY said today. ABC's senior whouls correspondent Cecilia Vega leading us off. Reporter: President trump's own FBI director today publicly contradicting the white house's shifting story about when they were first informed of the domestic violence allegations against former staff secretary rob porter. Over and over again, press secretary Sarah Sanders and her deput deputy, Raj shah, have said the FBI was still conducting porter's security background check when his two former wives went public with their claims of abuse. One releasing this photo of her black eye. His background investigation was ongoing. I can tell you that the process for the background was ongoing, and the white house had not received any specific papers regarding the completion of that background check. Reporter: But today, the FBI says, that's not true. In a stunning moment on capitol hill, FBI director Christopher WRAY told the senate intelligence committee his agents actually gave the white house reports on porter four times, as far back as last spring. The FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March and then a completed background investigation in late July. Reporter: WRAY says the bureau sent the white house more information in November, and closed the investigation into porter last month. Facing repeated questions about the contradiction, today, white house aides blamed a little known office, the white house personnel security office. There's multiple groups here. The white house personal security office, which is staffed by career officials, would have -- may have received information, but they had not completed their process and made a recommendation to the white house for adjudication. Reporter: None of this has quieted the firestorm engulfing chief of staff John Kelly. Despite the FBI now saying they gave the white house those four reporter on porter, when the story first broke, he praised porter as a man of true integrity and honor. Is the white house still maintaining that John Kelly really had no idea about these allegations of domestic abuse until this story broke? I can only give you the best information I have and that's my understanding. Reporter: The white house press secretary now acknowledges they could have handled the porter scandal better, but Kelly tells "The Wall Street journal" he wouldn't have handled the situation any differently, saying, quote, "It was all done right." The president himself had wished porter well, saying porter maintains his innocence, but today, still no message to the women, despite our repeated attempts to ask. Mr. President, do you believe rob porter's ex-wives? Do you believe rob porter's ex-wives, Mr. President? Does the president believe the women? Again, the president takes all these accusations very seriously. He believes in due process. Above everything else, he supports the victims of any type of violence, and certainly would condemn any violence against anyone. Reporter: But we still haven't heard him say that himself. The cameras were in front of him today. Again, the president dictated to me specifically that comment to me specifically yesterday, which I read out to you guys. So, let's get to Cecilia Vega. And as we've been reporting since late last week here, rob porter was working with a temporary security clearance. You've been asking why there are so many in the white house, more than a year into this administration, working with temporary clearance, Jared Kushner among them. And today, the president's own director of national intelligence sounding the alarm about this very issue. The access has to be limited in terms of the kind of information they can -- they can be in a position to receive or not receive. So, Cecilia, you've been pressing the white house. Do they have any explanation tonight why so many are on a temporary clearance? Reporter: This is a question they are still this many days in, David, refusing to answer. Sarah Sanders said today they are just following a process set by past administrations. I've got to tell you, we spent the day here working the phones, talking to people in past administrations. Many of them tell us it would be unheard of for this many aides this close to the president to still not have a permanent security clearance a year into the first term. All right, Cecilia Vega on this story again tonight.
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