Rob Porter may be out as President Donald Trump's staff secretary, but the fact that he was allowed in in the first place is a matter of large concern.
Porter fessed up to taking the now widely circulated photo of his ex-wife's black eye. But according to Porter, a picture is not worth 1,000 words.
"I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described," he said in a statement. "I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign."
Whatever reality Porter lives in where the "reality" is something other than he beat his ex-wife, the fact that he took the photo means one of two things: either Porter lied on his application for security clearance, or the White House was already aware of his abusive past.
If Porter lied, that would be a felony.
The FBI spoke with Porter's two ex-wives, who both said Porter abused them. The FBI passed this information along to the White House, news outlets have reported, so even if the White House did not hear the truth from Porter, they were aware the allegations existed. And the fact that two women confirmed the same story means Porter's abuse does in fact signify a pattern.
According to the Washington Post:
"In January 2017, when [White House Counsel Donald] McGahn learned of the allegations, he wanted Porter to stay put because he saw the Harvard Law-trained Capitol Hill veteran as a steadying, professional voice in the White House, according to people familiar with the matter. His view didn't change in June when the FBI flagged some of its findings to the White House. Nor did he act in September when he learned that the domestic violence claims were delaying Porter's security clearance, or in November when Porter's former girlfriend contacted him about the allegations, according to these people."
Only after Colbie Holderness, Porter's ex-wife, released photos of herself with a black eye — photos Porter admitted to taking — did the White House then act like there was reason to be concerned.
During his brief stint in the White House, Porter may have been working under a temporary security clearance. It seems this may be the new standard for White House staff members, as dozens of them are still awaiting full security clearance, CNN and the Post reported.
CBS News spoke with a former Obama administration official, who said that Porter's position would have been next to impossible to fill without full security clearance.
"I don't know how you would do that job without a security clearance," the unnamed former official said, adding, "I don't know how anyone could be in that job without a security clearance, unless it is constructed very differently in the Trump administration."
The news on Porter begs the question: why is security clearance for Jared Trump — and a number of others — being held up?