Email to FBI: Porter’s friend ‘actively working to quell’ background check issues

House oversight investigating WH handling of Rob Porter
Mike Pence, Donald Trump, Rob Porter, Reince Priebus

The current husband of one of Rob Porter’s ex-wives emailed the FBI last January expressing concern that a close friend of the former White House aide was “actively working to quell” background check issues.

Skiffington Holderness, the current husband of Porter’s first ex-wife, Colbie Holderness, said in an email to the FBI obtained by CNN that he had several conversations with Porter’s friend, Bryan Cunningham.

The email details those conversations, including one in which Cunningham allegedly reacted positively when Holderness said his wife was not inclined to talk to the FBI regarding Porter’s background check. Cunningham, according to the email, said “that was good,” she was “not obligated” to speak with the FBI, and that they should “bury the past.”

Porter, President Donald Trump’s staff secretary, resigned abruptly on Wednesday after allegations of domestic abuse from two of his ex-wives emerged publicly.

Reached on the phone on Thursday, Cunningham denied that he had conversations with Skiffington Holderness about Porter’s background check, with the exception of one time when he asked that Colbie Holderness send some contact information to Porter related to the background check.

“Let me just say categorically — I can deny and refute everything that he says in his email with respect to — I was never aware of background issues with Rob. I was simply aware that he had been divorced twice and that both of those marriages had obviously ended because neither one of them had worked out,” Cunningham said. “I didn’t want to know details nor was I ever given details about the cause of those divorces. So therefore, if I never knew about background issues, I was never working actively quell them.”

Cunningham said that he was also interviewed by the FBI for Porter’s background check in early 2017, and that it struck him as a routine interview. He also told CNN that he was shocked to hear about the domestic abuse allegations again Porter.

“I’m shocked and appalled by it. I’m actually happy and glad that Rob’s ex-wives were able to come forward given what allegedly happened and had gone on there,” Cunningham said.

Skiffington Holderness declined to comment to CNN about the email.

Colbie Holderness told CNN that she was interviewed by the FBI in January 2017. She said she informed the FBI about the various alleged abuses she suffered from her ex-husband, including an incident in 2005 when he allegedly punched her face, giving her a black eye. She also subsequently shared with the FBI photos from that incident.