Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

White House wasn't fully aware of allegations against ex-aide -- spokesman

White House wasn't fully aware of allegations against ex-aide -- spokesman

Raj Shah has made his daily press briefing debut at the White House, becoming the first Indian-American to do so.

Porter was close to chief of staff John Kelly, and now Kelly is in a harsh spotlight for his efforts to keep the aide in a highly sensitive West Wing job.

Shah said that Trump was not aware until Tuesday of the accusations against Porter, who was a frequent presence in the Oval Office and helped craft last week's State of the Union address.

Donald Trump's White House on Thursday admitted it could have done a better job handling battery allegations against a top staffer, amid a deluge of questions about ethical lapses at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Trump's senior aides knew for months about the allegations levied against Porter by his ex-wives, even as Porter's stock in the West Wing continued to rise, multiple sources have told CNN.

"When McGahn informed Kelly this fall about the reason for the security clearance holdup, he agreed that Porter should remain and said he was surprised to learn that the 40-year-old had ex-wives".

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Rob Porter is or was the White House Staff Secretary who resigned or was terminated on Wednesday and may or may not still be working for the Trump Administration.

Kelly and Hagin didn't know the specific allegations against the staff secretary, the sources said.

Both of Porter's ex-wives have detailed the nature of the abuse they said they suffered at Porter's hands and said they informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Porter's other ex-wife, Colbie Holderness, provided a brief statement to alleging that Porter had abused her, but the website didn't detail her claims.

Porter's second ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby, told CNN that on the honeymoon after their 2009 wedding, "He started calling me names, calling me a "f***ing bitch, ' how I behaved was 'f***ing ridiculous" and most of that was instigated around my not having sex with him often enough on our honeymoon".

Willoughby said in her marriage, the abuse was verbal and emotional.

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Porter announced Wednesday that he would resign but would not leave the White House immediately. The Intercept published pictures Wednesday that showed one of Porter's ex-wives with a black eye after he allegedly attacked her.

"You have got to take allegations seriously, you have got to take denials seriously", he said. "The things that I said were factual statements". Kelly, along with Porter, helped organize the West Wing's policy and decision-making process and infused the staff with a clearer sense of objective, officials said.

Porter has denied the allegations as "simply false" and "outrageous". Yet Porter had sat in on meetings of the National Security Council where top-secret matters were discussed, according to three people familiar with the situation. "His clearance was never denied, and he resigned", Shah added. "I am proud to serve alongside him".

It's not clear that either McGahn or Kelly knew the full extent of the allegations or that they included spousal abuse, but the best possible explanation is that they seemed to have a real lack of curiosity.

In the aftermath, Trump has told associates he feels that Hicks put her own priorities ahead of his.

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