WASHINGTON — Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, contradicted on Tuesday the White House timeline about the domestic abuse scandal involving Rob Porter, the president’s former staff secretary. Mr. Wray said that the bureau delivered to the White House a partial report on problems in Mr. Porter’s background in March, months earlier than the White House has admitted receiving the information. – Michael Shear [New York Times]
WE LEARNED several things today during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
The White House is lying about the timeline for Rob Porter‘s troubled background check, which exposed his violence against two ex-wives.
During the same hearing, Senator Jack Reed questioned the intelligence chiefs’ panel one by one on Russia. He asked each of the men if President Trump had specifically directed a counterattack to thwart Russia’s cyber hacking. CIA Direct Pompeo tried hard but not even he could scrape an affirmative answer on the specific Russia question: Did the president direct the U.S. intelligence community to coordinate a specific and targeted plan against Russian hackers and other bad actors working with them to stop their attack on our country? None of the men could.
Of course, the U.S. is on guard against general cybersecurity and intelligence thefts, which are being conducted by many malevolent forces in the world including China and Iran. Russia, however, has not been a priority for the Trump White House because our president is afraid it would undermine his election.
We also learned today, via NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, that Putin reportedly spoke with Trump about the Israeli-Palestinian tensions. The U.S. press didn’t break this story because Trump’s contact with the Russian thug was on the sly. It’s not the first time this type of thing has happened between Trump and Putin.
Juxtaposed against the U.S. intelligence chiefs saying there has not been a specific directive from the White House and President Trump to stop Russia’s election meddling, it’s clear a coordinated effort to fight Putin’s attack in an election year has not begun.
But it’s the Porter timeline news that landed hard today on the White House doorstep.
We have learned a lot about John Kelly since he entered the White House, none of which is good.
Chief of Staff John Kelly’s White House enemies are ready to use FBI Director Chris Wray’s testimony as a weapon: “Wray’s FBI timeline makes one thing clear: the Kelly coverup is unraveling right before our eyes,” a White House official says. – Jonathan Swan [Axios]