There is one very good reason why the Rob Porter story will not die: It is an example of a White House coverup with regard to his security clearance and why he was allowed access to top secret documents when he clearly did not have the credentials to do it.
It also has parallels for Jared Kushner, who also has not been fully cleared and yet reads the Presidential Daily Briefing every single day before digesting it and regurgitating it into Donald Trump’s brain in small, liquid bites.
The White House press, in spite of their many failings, understands this. They can also smell a coverup a mile away, which is why they jumped all over FBI Director Christopher Wray’s timeline as evidence that a wife-beater was allowed continued access to sensitive documents in spite of the FBI closing their case months ago on his clearance.
Politico’s Matthew Nussbaum moved in on the inconsistencies coming from the White House by first reminding Sanders that Raj Shah admitted they could have handled Porter better, and then comparing that with Sanders’ statement that everything was done correctly. Which is it, Sarah? Mistakes or perfectly handled?
“Every day we come here, we do the very best we can and every day we can do better than we did the day before and we’re going to continue to strive for that, ” she huffed. “We’re humans, making us imperfect people.”
Uh, Sarah? This misses the point. This is not a question of human fallibility. The FBI notified the White House about Porter and closed their file in July. Apparently Porter was asked about the domestic violence issues and explained his ex-wife’s black eye away as the result of “a fall” during an argument over a Venetian vase. This is the story he told reporters, and it’s the same story he told his White House colleagues, who then chose to overlook the fact that it does not change the possibility of compromise.
We don’t even have to get to the fact that his story is a classic excuse proffered by every abuser on the planet for why their wives end up bruised and beaten with black eyes. “She fell. She ran into a glass door. She walked into a cabinet. She’s clumsy.” These are all excuses all of us have heard from men who beat the crap out of women and expect never to be held accountable for it.
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But in this case, the excuse didn’t change the fact that Porter was compromised and the White House was fine with that. He would have gotten his promotion, and maybe taken John Kelly’s place as Chief of Staff someday. He was a man on an upward trajectory, compromise be damned.
And Sarah Huckabee Sanders has the absolute nerve to stand up there and excuse away this travesty as human error. It’s just mind-blowingly dishonest.