Trump Follows the Same Security Clearance Process as Obama and Bush, Says White House Legislative Director

Posted: Feb 11, 2018 12:45 PM
Trump Follows the Same Security Clearance Process as Obama and Bush, Says White House Legislative Director

Today on NBC's Meet the Press, White House Legislative Director, Marc Short, defended the process used to vet and hire staffers within the administration  The White House’s clearing process has fallen under scrutiny since Rob Porter, a former top aide to President Trump, resigned after graphic details of alleged domestic abuse surfaced earlier this week. 

Meet the Press' host, Chuck Todd, asked Short what missteps were taken by the White House in hiring Rob Porter. 

Short responded, saying that many in the White House considered Porter to be a friend and an outstanding worker. But, Short emphasized that there is “no tolerance for domestic abuse. And there can be no tolerance for violence against women and we have to be absolutely clear about that.”

As for how exactly Porter’s sordid past did not prevent him from being given a position in the White House, Short explained the process used to hire staffers. “I think there was probably some -- in the process some lack of communication between different elements in the White House. But keep in mind Chuck, this is the same process in the administration that the Obama administration used, the Bush administration used and others, and that the FBI runs this clearance process,” he told Todd. 

Short then emphasized that as soon as Chief of Staff General John Kelly learned the full extent of the allegations, Porter was off the job job within 24 hours. “…they provide somebody an interim security clearance, that means that they’ve done an initial vet and say, this person is okay, there are some mitigating circumstances we’re going to continue to investigate. We had not received a final investigation. When General Kelly learned the depth of the nature of the accusations Tuesday night, by Wednesday morning Rob Porter submitted his resignation.” 

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Todd pressed Short as to how it was possible that General Kelly did not know earlier, Short again returned to the fact they were using the same clearing process as previous administrations. When asked why staffers such as President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, receive certain information, Short maintained that the president "has not waived any security clearances." 

Many in the media and political circles have speculated that General Kelly, or others in the White House, should step down for failing to fully vet Rob Porter.