White House says it 'could have done better' over Rob Porter allegations

Rob Porter: John Kelly 'shocked' by Trump aide abuse claims
White House Staff Secretary resigns amid abuse allegations
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09 February, 2018

White House spokesman Raj Shah on Thursday declined to specify when senior officials first became aware of allegations that staff secretary Rob Porter had physically and emotionally abused his two ex-wives but acknowledged the White House had could have better handled the episode.

In the email, which was obtained by the news outlet, Holderness reportedly says Cunningham reacted positively to the news that Colbie Holderness, Porter's ex-wife, was not desiring to speak to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

These reports of abuse started surfacing after The Daily Mail broke the story that Porter is dating White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, one of the most influential figures in the West Wing.

Willoughby married Porter in 2009, and told CNN she endured emotional abuse from Porter that included "intense" bursts of anger. "I thought by sharing my story with the Federal Bureau of Investigation he wouldn't be put in that post", Holderness says, explaining that she voiced concerns he could be blackmailed because of the number of people who knew about her situation.

Willoughby obtained an emergency protective order against Porter in 2010.

The admission of fault after a chaotic 48-hours in which senior Trump aides looked to inoculate the White House from a domestic violence controversy was a stunning turn for an administration whose top officials - including the President - rarely admit mistakes. Porter said in his statement.

In addition to the difficult time Shah had nailing down a consistent narrative regarding what senior White House staffers knew about the abuse allegations and when, he also had a hard time confirming if Porter resigned of his own accord or if he was sacked.

But on Wednesday evening, as photos of Porter's ex-wife with a black eye circulated, Kelly released another statement, writing, "I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter".

The Rice video also drew a response from the White House. That could come as early as today. Porter said in a statement.

Porter is denying those accusations.

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Cummings has requested that the House Oversight Committee obtain all paperwork Porter "was required to complete as a condition of White House employment", which includes "forms for internal White House vetting" and "the FBI's final investigative report on Robert Porter" by February 22.

Kelly went on to call Porter "a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional".

"Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can't say enough good things about him", Kelly said.

Rob Porter was staff secretary, serving as a gatekeeper in deciding which documents reached President Donald Trump, report the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Shah will also probably take questions about whether President Donald Trump will release the Democrat's rebuttal to last week's GOP FISA memo containing claims of Federal Bureau of Investigation malpractice and corruption. "I am proud to serve alongside him", Kelly said in a statement sent out earlier Wednesday.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed, "He is going to be leaving the White House".

Shah stressed Porter denies the allegations. He nearly always accompanies the president when he travels, and frequently can be seen near Trump as he boards Marine One and Air Force One.

He was one of a handful of aides who helped to write the president's first State of the Union address.

Porter had worked as chief of staff for Sen.


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