WASHINGTON ― The Trump administration's decision to allow accused domestic abuser Rob Porter to stay on as a top White House aide for more than a year without a permanent security clearance is yet another reason the security clearance process at the White House needs "credible oversight", a top House Democrat said Thursday.
Porter's ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby, told the DailyMail.com - the USA website of a United Kingdom tabloid - that he had difficulty controlling his anger and at one point pulled her out of the shower and yelled at her.
Porter's second wife, Jennie Willoughby, received a temporary emergency protective order in Arlington in June 2010 after saying he refused to leave her residence, in violation of their separation agreement. "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. The couple went to the Canary Islands for their honeymoon, where Porter kicked her thigh during an argument, she said. Domestic violence in any form is abhorrent and unacceptable. Porter came to the White House earlier in the day to clear out his personal items, Shah said.
U.S. media have reported that Mr Kelly and other White House officials had been aware for several months that the claims were keeping the White House staff secretary from obtaining security clearance.
After the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, first disclosed the women's abuse allegations this week and Porter's current relationship with White House communications director Hope Hicks, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kelly defended him.
Shah said the White House had not handled its response to the situation as well as it should have, adding: "A lot of us could have done better".
"I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming Chief of Staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation", Kelly said in a statement.
Trump didn't mention Porter when he gathered with lawmakers, members of the military and former Vice President Dick Cheney at the White House on Tuesday evening to watch the movie "12 Strong". "I am proud to serve alongside him".
Porter not only controlled the flow of information onto Trump's desk, but as a lawyer, he also helped vet the mountain of documents that require the President's signature.
A White House official said that anyone in Porter's position would have had an interim security clearance sufficient to do the job.
Several White House aides said Wednesday that Kelly's statement was a mistake.
Something is rotten in the West Wing of the White House, and the man brought in to provide order and decorum is now part of the problem.
"These outrageous allegations are simply false", he said. "What he's done as chief of staff doesn't undo what he did as a heroic war figure, but it diminishes him a person and that's regrettable".
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