Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Trump privately questioning the credibility of Rob Porter's ex-wives

Trump privately questioning the credibility of Rob Porter's ex-wives

Sorensen's resignation comes just two days after staff secretary Rob Porter stepped down amid claims that he physically abused two of his ex-wives.

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. "We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today", Shah said in a statement.

It is alleged Porter, 40, gave one ex-wife a black eye while another filed a restraining order.

Separately, there is a Washington Post report tonight saying some White House officials "have been so vexed by Jared Kushner's months-long inability to obtain a permanent security clearance that they have hesitated to get involved in other cases with potential problems".

Several weeks earlier, Kelly said in a Fox News interview that Trump was not "fully informed" about immigration issues when he promised in his 2016 campaign to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Without mentioning the women, Trump said Porter "did a very good job" working in the West Wing and said he "will have a great career" ahead of him.

Instead, Trump thought it was appropriate to point out that Porter "very strongly" claimed innocence, as if someone in Porter's situation would say otherwise.

Chief of Staff John Kelly was aware of the allegations and also praised Porter's conduct in the White House, maintaining that "every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation". "He did a very good job when he was in the White House and we hope he has a wonderful career". Another story line in the Daily Mail involves a former girlfriend warning the White House of allegations against Porter. Trump has repeatedly defended men accused of assaulting or abusing women, including Corey Lewandowski, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly and Roy Moore.

Whatever his military achievements, Kelly may be the least-qualified chief of staff in recent history, including his lackluster predecessor, Reince Priebus, who is James A. Baker III by comparison.

Kelly sent a memo to staff late Thursday in which he wrote that "while we are all processing the shocking and troubling allegations made against a former White House staffer, I want you to know that we all take matters of domestic violence very seriously".

The White House claims that the backlog of interim security clearances is a procedural outcome of the review process carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and White House Office of Security, which can take time to complete. But what possible reason could there be to keep someone inside the classified world of the White House under such circumstances?

The White House was already under scrutiny over its handling of Porter's departure who announced his resignation on Wednesday.

In October, Charles Phalen, the director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, told lawmakers he has "never seen that level of mistakes" when asked about numerous omissions in Kushner's security clearance application.

"I don't think that he has really taken the time to deconstruct why it is that he behaves this way, and until he is able to do that, I don't know that he has control over it", she told Cooper.

"I found out about it recently and I was surprised by it", Trump said.

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