The coverup is often worse than the crime. There are few things worse than what former White House aide Rob Porter allegedly did to his two ex-wives, but his domestic violence scandal just became a criminal scandal for Donald Trump and John Kelly. They didn’t simply keep a guy on the job after learning that there was a restraining order against him; they appear to have illegally given him classified information as well.
Because of Porter’s history he was unable to obtain permanent security clearance, and his interim clearance expired on January 15th. The FBI expressed concern about Porter handling classified information, yet it appears John Kelly let it happen anyway (link). This led Congressman Ted Lieu, an Air Force veteran and JAG officer with a law degree, to spell out just how much criminal culpability there may be here.
Lieu tweeted “This is a very disturbing article. If in fact Rob Porter’s interim security clearance expired on Jan 15 and John Kelly continued to let him handle highly classified information, then Kelly must resign. Also, giving someone classified info who is not cleared to see it is a crime.” So it sounds like Kelly committed a crime which could send him to prison. If Trump knew what Kelly was up to, then Trump conspired with him to commit that crime. But this issue of illegally sharing classified intel with staffers may go well beyond Porter.
Just yesterday the Washington Post reported that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who inexplicably has a senior White House position in violation of all government nepotism standards, can’t get a permanent security clearance either (link). Why? Kushner still can’t explain why he kept meeting with the Russians during the transition period and then lied about it on his security clearance forms. And so a hideous scandal about domestic violence has quickly morphed into a national security issue, a criminal coverup, and yes, another chapter in the Trump-Russia scandal.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report