White House dodges House Oversight Committee questions about Rob Porter

White House dodges House Oversight Committee questions about Rob Porter

What is House Oversight Committee Chair Trey Gowdy going to do about the White House ignoring his request for information about just how former staff secretary Rob Porter kept his job despite his security clearance-blocking history of domestic violence? Last month, Gowdy wrote to the White House asking what the White House knew when about Porter. The White House’s answer is a non-answer:

White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short sent a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) politely neglecting to cooperate with their demands for information on how and why Porter was allowed to continue to work as White House staff secretary, a senior position, for months after the FBI had informed senior White House staff of allegations of spousal abuse. The letter was obtained by TPM Thursday evening, shortly after the committee received it.

“Consistent with your letters’ requests, we would be pleased to update you and others on the progress of the working group at the appropriate time,” Short writes to Gowdy at the end of the letter after detailing what the White House is doing differently now on security clearance procedures, a courteous way of ignoring Gowdy’s specific requests on what the White House’s procedures were at the time and who knew what when about Porter.

It’s all very well that Gowdy asked for the information to begin with, but this is where the rubber hits the road. Is he going to insist on an answer even if it means picking a fight with a Republican White House, or is he going to give Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly a pass and let the issue die quietly?