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

Casey Dawson
February 10, 2018

Shah told reporters that President Donald Trump was not aware of any issues with Porter's security clearance before Tuesday and "was surprised" by the abuse allegations.

Principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah on Thursday called the allegations "troubling" and insisted White House officials took them seriously while suggesting that any missteps in their response were because the "emerging reports were not reflective of the individual who we had come to know".

Two years ago, before President Trump was President Trump, before White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned in the wake of domestic abuse accusations, current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly appeared as a character witness in a court-martial of a Marine colonel who was accused of sexually harassing two woman subordinates.

Porter has denied the allegations against him saying, in a statement that, "These outrageous allegations are simply false".

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Donald Trump's White House on Thursday (Friday in Manila) 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 has regularly vented to his associates about Kelly, who imposed a strict system of information flow when he entered the White House over the summer. "He really wanted to know, 'what are you going to tell them?' and I told him, 'I'm going to tell them the truth".

The White House said Trump favoured a merit-based immigration system, which attracts the best and the brightest from across the world. Porter was in the building for a short period to clean out his desk, Shah said.

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On Wednesday, the Mail reported accusations by Porter's first wife, Colbie Holderness. But White House officials said Kelly pushed Porter to stay in the job even after the release of the photos. She took out a protective order against him after he reportedly violated a separation agreement and punched through glass in the door of their home, cutting himself, she said. "But this was the Rob Porter that I and many others have dealt with, that Sarah dealt with, that other officials, including the Chief of Staff, have dealt with". The Intercept published pictures Wednesday that showed one of Porter's ex-wives with a black eye after he allegedly attacked her.

The FBI had contacts with the ex-wives a second time, in September.

Willoughby added that Porter accepted her decision. 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.

When asked what he had asked her to say, Willoughby responded: 'I don't remember the exact wording, but it was something along the lines of the post does not accurately depict my marriage.

The FBI investigation into his security clearance was never closed, according to Shah.

Shah was asked questions about Trump's thoughts concerning legal immigration as it affects Indian immigrants, and those applying for Green Cards through the normal route, as well as on lifting the country quotas for legal immigration, News India Times daily reported.

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