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John Kelly renews defense in wake of Rob Porter abuse scandal

John Kelly renews defense in wake of Rob Porter abuse scandal

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Friday again defended his handling of the scandal surrounding accused wife beater Rob Porter's departure - saying he never offered to resign over the matter because he handled it properly.

Still, Kelly said that "we had not reached endgame" in the case and that Porter's security clearance was pending until the abuse charges came to light.

Kelly-who was brought into the White House to impose order and prevent exactly this kind of scandal-hasn't been able to escape scrutiny for what appears to be his decision to keep Porter employed even after photos emerged of Porter's first ex-wife Colbie Holderness with a black eye.

During that briefing, Kelly addressed the response to the Porter allegations.

Porter resigned in disgrace early February after reports surfaced of his history of beating two of his ex-wives. Another said staffers were "puzzled" by his comments.

That claim was refuted by David Martosko, political editor of the Daily Mail, the publication that first broke the news about abuse allegations against Porter. "The story was that a wife had claimed that she had had some level of emotional abuse", the retired Marine general said.

Among them are communications director Hope Hicks who announced Wednesday that she is resigning and Staff Secretary Rob Porter who left amid allegations of domestic violence. The accusation was late in the afternoon, and it was simply one of his two former wives", Kelly said Friday, adding, "There was no story out yet. "At that point in time, I thought [the statement] was accurate of my relationship with Rob Porter", adding, "I put out a statement of support for him, and an hour later find out now there's a second report still not in the press, still no pictures".

"I talked to Rob and just, he resigned".

Additionally, sources have told that Kelly got an FBI briefing in November about information the FBI had collected in their background check investigation of Porter, telling him the aide's security clearance would be denied because his past spousal abuse made him a blackmail risk.

"Chris Wray was right, and it was a shock for me certainly", Kelly said. "It won't be immediate, but he is resigning from the White House, but is going to stay on to ensure that there's a smooth transition moving forward".

Kelly wasn't the only member of the Trump administration whose actions led to accusations of valuing Porter's contributions to the White House more highly than the wellbeing of his ex-wives. Sanders initially said at the time that Porter would be leaving his post within weeks. Scaramucci said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg News, using a derogatory name to refer to Chief of Staff John Kelly.

'He changed the statement after realizing it was 'physical abuse.' That is insulting to anyone suffering an abusive situation now.


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