By The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board
The story of Rob Porter has escalated from a personal and domestic trauma to one about failed White House vetting, and this time President Trump seems to be blameless. The damage would be compounded if it blows up the vast improvement that Chief of Staff John Kelly has brought to the West Wing.
Mr. Porter resigned this week after news broke that he was accused of abusing two former wives during their marriages. The truth of the accusations is impossible for an outsider to know at this point, and Mr. Porter has denied the allegations as “vile” and part of a “coordinated smear campaign.”
But by all accounts the allegations were holding up Mr. Porter’s security clearance, which he needed in the crucial job of staff secretary who controls the daily paper flow to the President’s desk. Both ex-wives say they shared this information with the FBI a year ago, and the Daily Mail is reporting that Mr. Porter’s former girl friend spoke to Mr. Kelly about the allegations in October.
The White House review process served the President poorly. The FBI typically takes such charges, and its impact on a security clearance, to the White House counsel’s office, whose job is to determine if those charges are disqualifying. They are automatically so if a clearance is denied, unless the President himself overrules the FBI.