The Rob Porter scandal, which initially appeared to be a straightforward if highly disturbing story about about a White House employee accused of serial domestic abuse, has turned out to be something much more deep and vast. Donald Trump and the highest rungs of his administration bent over backward to try to protect Porter, despite the evidence against him. With each passing day we’re learning more about the why and how of the coverup. Now we know why the White House Counsel tried so hard to cover for Porter.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly may have played the most egregious role in trying to cover up the Porter scandal. But of all the Trump senior advisers who knew what was going on, White House Counsel Don McGahn appears to have known about it the longest. That seemed strange, considering he’s the lawyer for the White House, and it’s his job to prevent these kinds of legal liabilities from becoming problems. As it turns out, this comes down to security clearances. Porter could’t get one, and as it turns out, McGahn doesn’t have one either.
According to a stunning new report from NBC News (link/a>), McGahn spent at least his first ten months in the White House without being able to obtain a security clearance for himself. It’s confirmed that as of November 2017, he still didn’t have clearance. No one is willing to say if he’s since gained clearance, which suggests he may still not have it. So what on earth did his background check turn up that would red flag him?
It’s fairly easy to understand why Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner have been unable to pass a background check and obtain permanent security clearance. Kushner lied about his meetings with the Russians on his security clearance application form. Ivanka also omitted Kushner’s meetings from her form, and she has a long history of real estate deals with convicted Russian mafia money launderer Felix Sater. But what the heck is hiding in White House Counsel Don McGahn’s past that would cause him to fail a background check? In any case, McGahn appears to have been keeping Porter’s failed background check a secret because he didn’t want his own failed background check to come to light. It has anyway.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report