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Politics Abuse Case Exposes Fissures in a White House in Turmoil

05:35  12 february  2018
05:35  12 february  2018 Source:   nytimes.com

White House scrambles to contain Porter fallout

  White House scrambles to contain Porter fallout Rob Porter will be out as early as Thursday, a senior White House official said Wednesday night, in another signal the West Wing is scrambling to contain the fallout over his continued employment even though officials were aware of the domestic abuse allegations against him. Porter, a top White House staffer, resigned from his position Wednesday after allegations of domestic abuse were made public by his two ex-wives. Porter has denied their allegations.A top aide to White House chief of staff John Kelly, Porter was initially defended by glowing White House statements in spite of his resignation.

Mr. Kelly privately told colleagues at the White House on Friday that he was willing to resign over his handling of Mr. Porter’s case if Mr. Trump A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Aide’s Departure Exposes Fissures Over Abuse Reply.

But that belied what is going on behind the scenes: a White House in turmoil . Where do you start? Abuse Case Exposes Fissures : Latest news - Scoopnest.com - www.scoopnest.com.

a woman in a black shirt: Kellyanne Conway, left, the White House counselor, and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, in the Oval Office on Friday. “I have no reason not to believe the women,” Ms. Conway said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”© Jonathan Ernst/Reuters Kellyanne Conway, left, the White House counselor, and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, in the Oval Office on Friday. “I have no reason not to believe the women,” Ms. Conway said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

WASHINGTON — The furor over spousal abuse allegations that forced the resignation of one of President Trump’s top advisers last week has exposed fissures within the White House that had been papered over since John F. Kelly took over last summer as chief of staff with a mandate to end the dysfunction.

Aides to the president said they remained confused and upset over the handling of the accusations against Rob Porter, the staff secretary who stepped down. Days after his departure, the White House was still struggling on Sunday to provide a consistent explanation of who knew what and when, even as questions swirled about whether anyone might be felled as a result.

Biden on Trump aide Rob Porter: 'It's long past due that he left'

  Biden on Trump aide Rob Porter: 'It's long past due that he left' Joe Biden criticized the White House Thursday for allowing a top aide to President Donald Trump to stay on despite his alleged history of domestic abuse. That aide, White House staff secretary Rob Porter, resigned Wednesday after the allegations became public."I can't explain it. It's long past due that he left," Biden told NBC News' Andrea Mitchell when asked about Porter's access to the president, as well as White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

The image of a White House at cross purposes was reinforced at another point in the interview when Mr. Mulvaney said that if he A version of this article appears in print on February 12, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Aide’s Departure Exposes Fissures Over Abuse Reply.

Kellyanne Conway, left, the White House counselor, and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, in the Oval Office on Friday. “I have no reason not to believe the women,” Ms. Conway said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”. Credit Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.

While said to be frustrated with Mr. Kelly over this and other issues, Mr. Trump sought this weekend to tamp down talk that he would be pushed out, instructing an aide scheduled to appear on television to report that the president still had confidence in his chief of staff. But other advisers to Mr. Trump maintained that his staff had let him down and that someone else should be held accountable.

“I spoke to the president last night,” Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to Mr. Trump, told Jake Tapper on Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I told him I would be with you today. And he said, ‘Please tell Jake that I have full faith in Chief of Staff John Kelly and that I’m not actively searching for replacements.’ He said: ‘I saw that all over the news today. I have faith in him.’”

Rob Porter ex-wife: I told FBI about the abuse

  Rob Porter ex-wife: I told FBI about the abuse Jennifer Willoughby, the second ex-wife of White House staff secretary Rob Porter, told NBC News Thursday that she informed the FBI during his background interview for a top-level security clearance that he was abusive toward her."During the FBI background interview for security clearance, I shared with the FBI all of the details that I shared in previous articles, including access to a protective order from June of 2010, and police calls that I had made to our home," she told NBC News' Kristen Welker.

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Mr. Kelly privately told colleagues at the White House on Friday that he was willing to resign over his handling of Mr. Porter’s case if Mr. Trump desired, but presidential aides said no resignation was formally offered or drafted. If not “actively” searching, Mr. Trump has informally sounded out associates about possible replacements, including Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, and Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican majority leader.

“Clearly, there was a breakdown in process,” former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, an informal adviser to the president, said on “This Week” on ABC. Asked if someone should pay the price, Mr. Christie said, “That’s going to be up to the president ultimately about whether or not he views this as such a failure of competence in terms of the management that he needs to bring someone else in.”

Rob Porter's ex-wife says he asked her to "downplay" abuse allegations

  Rob Porter's ex-wife says he asked her to Jennie Willoughby said she doesn't think Porter has changed, and she's worried about White House communications director Hope Hicks , who he is currently dating.Willoughby told Cooper that Porter asked her to take down a blog post from April 2017 detailing the abuse, and asked her to put out a statement downplaying the allegations. Ultimately, Willoughby said she didn't agree to the statement because she didn't agree with the language. Willoughby said she was in contact with Porter within the last two weeks, but has not been since the Daily Mail broke the allegations Tuesday night.

WASHINGTON — The furor over spousal abuse allegations that forced the resignation of one of President Trump’s top advisers last week has exposed fissures within the White House that had been papered over since John F

DOJ Watchdog Finds James Comey Broke FBI Rules In Clinton Case , Report Says. Woman Gets Head Stuck In Exhaust Pipe. Italy economy minister cancels Paris meeting over migrant spat.

As the outcry stretched into a new week, the president and his staff were still divided in describing the episode’s import. Mr. Trump has expressed sympathy for Mr. Porter and none for the two ex-wives who have accused him of physically abusing them. Despite photographs showing one of the women with a black eye, Mr. Trump on Friday emphasized that Mr. Porter had protested his innocence, and on Saturday he complained that a “mere allegation” could ruin someone without due process.

But his aides fanned out to talk shows on Sunday to stress that domestic abuse is unacceptable, adding that Mr. Porter had lied to them and deserved to be pushed out. They insisted that the president was disturbed by the charges against Mr. Porter and was sympathetic toward women who had been abused. “I have no reason not to believe the women,” Ms. Conway said.

Donald J. Trump et al. sitting at a table: While said to be frustrated with his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, President Trump sought to tamp down talk that he would be pushed out.© Yuri Gripas/Reuters While said to be frustrated with his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, President Trump sought to tamp down talk that he would be pushed out. Mr. Mulvaney, the budget director, said that the handling of Mr. Porter’s situation was “completely reasonable and normal” and that it was natural to give “the benefit of the doubt” to a colleague until more evidence was available.

Porter ex-wife: 'If he hasn’t already been abusive with Hope, he will'

  Porter ex-wife: 'If he hasn’t already been abusive with Hope, he will' One of the ex-wives of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter said that if he hasn't been abusive during his relationship with communications director Hope Hicks, he soon would be.Jennie Willoughby, who was married to Porter for four years until 2013, told CNN's Anderson Cooper that she was worried for Hicks.

Abuse Case Exposes Fissures in a White House in Turmoil . By PETER BAKER and MAGGIE HABERMAN, U.S. Read more.

The furor over spousal abuse allegations that forced the resignation of one of President Trump’s top advisers last week has exposed fissures within the White House that had been papered over since John F. Kelly took over last summer as chief of staff with a mandate to end the dysfunction.

“That’s what the president did up until the time that it became obvious, when the photographs came out, that the person was not being honest with the president,” Mr. Mulvaney said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “After that happened, we dismissed that person immediately.”

As for potentially replacing Mr. Kelly, he disavowed interest in his post. “I don’t want that job,” said Mr. Mulvaney, who in addition to leading the budget office is the acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “I love the job — jobs — that I have now.” Moreover, he said, Mr. Trump remains satisfied with Mr. Kelly. “The problem here was with Mr. Porter, not with the chief of staff.”

The image of a White House at cross purposes was reinforced at another point in the interview when Mr. Mulvaney said that if he were still a congressman, he most likely would not have voted for the two-year budget deal that Mr. Trump just signed into law, a comment that angered others in the White House. “Probably not,” he said. “But keep in mind, I’m not Congressman Mick Mulvaney anymore.” Instead, as budget director, he said his job “is to try to get the president’s agenda passed.”

Mr. Trump, who is scheduled to sign a bill on Wednesday aimed at protecting young people from sexual abuse, remained silent on Mr. Porter’s case on Sunday. However, in a seeming nod to the matter, he complained that not enough attention was being paid to his accomplishments.

Porter's ex-wife on female Trump aides' responses: 'I expected a woman to do better'

  Porter's ex-wife on female Trump aides' responses: 'I expected a woman to do better' The first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter said she "expected a woman to do better" after press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say whether President Trump believed the abuse allegations against Porter. Colbie Holderness, one of Porter's two ex-wives accusing him of domestic abuse, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post on Monday that she was dismayed by Huckabee Sanders and White House aide Kellyanne Conway's comments about the allegations.Holderness said that she was taken aback by Conway's comments on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

Abuse Case Exposes Fissures in White House in Turmoil . Go to article.

“So many positive things going on for the U.S.A. and the Fake News Media just doesn’t want to go there,” he wrote on Twitter. “Same negative stories over and over again! No wonder the People no longer trust the media, whose approval ratings are correctly at their lowest levels in history!”

The White House was informed last year that Mr. Porter’s security clearance was being held up, but that did not set off sufficient alarm bells for any action to be taken. Even when reporters called the White House press office roughly three weeks ago asking about Mr. Porter’s divorces and whether they had affected his security clearance, that did not stir concern, according to two people familiar with the calls.

When White House officials learned last week that The Daily Mail would publish an article about allegations by the ex-wives, Hope Hicks, the communications director, who had been dating Mr. Porter, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the press secretary, approached Mr. Kelly about a statement in support of him, according to two people briefed on the events. Mr. Kelly, who had been on Capitol Hill much of the day, agreed to have a statement issued in his name describing the charges as “vile.”

Nonetheless, the people briefed on the discussions said, Mr. Kelly told Mr. Porter at some point later that evening that he needed to resign. Mr. Porter agreed. It was not issued as a clear order, but it was understood that Mr. Porter would go, according to the two people briefed on the discussions. Mr. Porter has offered a different version of events, telling associates that he was initially urged to stay on and fight, including by Mr. Kelly.

Pence: White House could have better handled Porter situation

  Pence: White House could have better handled Porter situation Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday said the White House could have done a better job handling the Rob Porter domestic-abuse allegations. Pence said that the Trump administration has "no tolerance for domestic violence," but added that "the White House could have handled this better."The vice president's remarks come as the saga surrounding Porter shows no signs of ending, and after House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) announced his panel would begin an investigation.

Abuse Case Exposes Fissures in a White House in Turmoil . Feb 12, 2018By crystalg.

Aides to President Trump said they remained confused and upset over the handling of the accusations against Rob Porter, the staff secretary who stepped down.

Either way, Mr. Porter arrived at work on Wednesday morning and told Mr. Kelly that he was reconsidering stepping down, according to the two people briefed. Mr. Kelly again said Mr. Porter needed to leave, the people said. Mr. Porter agreed and told colleagues that he planned to resign without setting a departure date so he could help with the transition. He maintained to colleagues that his ex-wives were making up their stories of abuse and that while he was flawed, he was not physically abusive.

The official line remained that Mr. Porter had made the choice to leave on his own and was not asked. Ms. Sanders, whose briefing materials take hours to prepare and whose official statements are agreed to in advance by senior aides, said from the briefing room lectern that Mr. Kelly and Mr. Trump still had full confidence in Mr. Porter.

At various points, officials have said it was the publication of the photographs that changed their calculation. “The photographs took everybody by surprise,” Mr. Mulvaney said.

Mr. Kelly was persuaded to issue a second statement expressing shock, and White House officials made clear that Mr. Porter would be gone the next day. But Thursday morning, Mr. Porter was still in his office, clearing out his things, and had to be nudged to leave.

Mr. Porter has told associates that he had informed White House officials last year that he had two ex-wives who, he said, had manufactured claims about him. Other officials said he described messy and complicated divorces, but offered no specific details. Two West Wing officials said Mr. Porter had offered conflicting portraits of his marriages. One official said he at first discussed one divorce, and then two. Initially, he said that he had been verbally abusive but that his wives had been too.

While Mr. Kelly and Mr. Porter have been characterized as close allies, some White House officials said over the weekend that that was exaggerated. Mr. Kelly found Mr. Porter competent and did not want to find someone new, one official said, but he never entirely trusted Mr. Porter, in part because Mr. Kelly’s longtime deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen, was not a fan of his.

Ms. Nielsen has since left the White House to become secretary of Homeland Security. Her absence and Mr. Kelly’s reluctance to trust and promote people he does not know well have also been cited in some of the chaos surrounding Mr. Porter. Ms. Nielsen frequently blocked and tackled for the chief of staff, making herself the main line of approach to him. Without her, officials often approach Mr. Kelly freely now, and he sometimes does not remember what he has said to different people, two officials said.

Marc Short, the White House legislative director, acknowledged on Sunday that the process had not worked well. “There’s been a rash of sexual harassment investigations, including at your own network, that you later come back and say there are things we could have done better to prevent it,” he said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “I think the White House will go through that same experience.”

Follow Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman on Twitter: @peterbakernyt @maggienyt.

FBI had photos showing Porter’s alleged abuse in early 2017: report .
<p>The FBI had photos showing former White House staff secretary Rob Porter's alleged domestic abuse toward his ex-wife in early 2017, CNN reports, raising questions about what information senior aides such as counsel Don McGahn had access to regarding Porter.</p>The bureau obtained the photos of Porter's first wife Colbie Holderness with a black eye just seven days after President Trump's inauguration, according to CNN. Holderness provided the photos as part of Porter's background check to obtain a security clearance.

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