What’s going on?
Led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Congress is investigating why the White House employed former aide Rob Porter even though he had been accused of domestic abuse.
On today’s show, Pat and Stu talked about this story while sitting in for Glenn.
Porter, who served as White House staff secretary for the Trump administration for about a year, resigned last week when allegations from two of his ex-wives surfaced. One of them produced a photo of her blackened eye from the alleged abuse as evidence.
“These outrageous allegations are simply false,” Porter said in a statement, calling the claims a “coordinated smear campaign.”
What are Republicans saying?
Gowdy said his House Oversight Committee launched the investigation on Tuesday night. In an interview, he sounded determined to get to the bottom of things.
“You can call it official, you can call it unofficial — those words don’t mean anything to me,” Gowdy said in an interview with CNN. “What means something to me is I’m going to direct questions to the FBI that I expect them to answer.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told reporters that he had been informed about the probe and that Porter’s employment by the White House indicated a “breakdown” in the screening process.
“If a person who commits domestic violence gets in government, then there’s a breakdown in the system,” Ryan said. “There’s a breakdown in the vetting system, and that breakdown needs to be addressed.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
PAT: Pat and Stu for Glenn. He’s out with the flu today. 888-727-BECK.
Apparently Trey Gowdy has spoken out on this Rob Porter mess.
PAT: Kind of interesting, what he had to say. Here it is.
VOICE: I’m well. Are you troubled by Rob Porter’s employment in the White House?
VOICE: Yes. On two levels. Now, one is the interim security clearance issue. But even more importantly, I spent two decades believing women and children who alleged abuse, even sometimes when no one else did. So whether or not there’s a security clearance at issue or not, I have real questions about how someone like this could be considered for employment, whether there’s a security clearance or not. So, yeah, I’m troubled by almost every aspect of this.
VOICE: And so now that we know, according to yesterday, Chris Ray’s testimony, that they told the White House four times, they gave the White House four separate — four different installments of the report. Some of them complete. It included the allegations from the ex-wives of violence. So how could he still have a job at the White House?
VOICE: That’s a great question. And one that I can’t answer. I didn’t hire him. But who knew what? When? And to what extent? Those are the questions that I think ought to be asked. And Congress has a role to play. I, but, quite frankly, so does the public and so does the media. Who knew, what, when, and to what extent. And if you knew it in 2017, and the bureau briefed him three times, then how in the hell was he still employed? The security clearance is a separate issue. I mean, it’s an important issue, but it’s separate.
How do you have any job, if you have credible allegations of domestic abuse? Again, I am biased toward the victim. I spent two decades believing them. But you don’t have to be biased toward the victim to ask, how in the hell did this happen?
PAT: Wow. I mean, that’s not good, coming from Trey Gowdy, a Republican. Some pretty solid points there.
PAT: How do you — how were you hired in the first place? When you did the background check and you should probably know about it then.
STU: Because there’s two lines there, the idea that victims should be believed — that’s a weird statement to come from a guy — a prosecutor. A guy who is involved in the legal system.
PAT: Yeah, that’s not our justice system, by the way. Victims should be taken seriously. But not necessarily believed.
STU: Yeah. The opposite. Right?
PAT: It’s the opposite.
STU: There should always be skepticism of an allegation.
STU: Because it’s innocent until proven guilt. Proven guilt.
STU: Now, he’s not necessarily talking about the legal standard here, however. And the standard of whether he should be working in the White House is a different one. The standard of what we feel as a generalized public, the court of public opinion, is a much lower standard, right? We judged things all the time on the left and the right, without all the information.
But I do think there has to be a process here. Some sort of process. It just seems that like, so far, this does not look good for him.
That being said, the — the fact that Trey Gowdy, is out there saying, how the hell was this guy employed? I honestly think there is a good chance this leads to Kelly leaving.
PAT: Yeah, it seems like.
STU: Kelly, I think, has done a good job since he got in there. He just has not handled this one well. It would be interesting to see why that happened. Because he obviously is not incompetent. There have been people who have handled things in ways that are really incompetent. You see the people going after him. All the Lewandowskis and the Scaramuccis and all of them are going after Kelly, and a lot of them have axes to grind with him. But I think generally speaking, he’s done a pretty good job for Trump. General Kelly. And he obviously has a really legitimate, you know, backstory and strong resume and history. It just seems like this one, he did not handle well. Maybe from a personal blindness of liking this guy. And not taking the accusations seriously enough early enough.
PAT: Seems that’s about all it can be, right?
STU: Certainly he’s not —
PAT: Maybe he believed the guy. Maybe Porter completely denied it. And he still is pretty much denying it, and Kelly believed him.
STU: Yeah. And I think that may very well be what happened here. But because it seemed like Trump had soured on him a little bit anyway. Didn’t like the control. In addition to that, this did not go well, he’s getting hammered in the press. He’s doubled down on it. He’s changed his timelines. He’s not handled this well. And it may cost him his job.
PAT: And since Kelly has been in there, he doesn’t like the control, but things have been more normal. So, yeah, it’s too bad.