Pence on Porter: WH has acknowledged 'they could have handled it better'

Rob Porter with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Rob Porter with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Alex Brandon AP

Kelly has come under intense scrutiny over what he knew or didn't know about Porter, and how he responded.

After summoning reporters into the Oval Office Friday, President Donald Trump addressed Porter's departure, saying it is a "tough time" for Porter and that "we wish him well".

Reporters grilled White House spokesman Raj Shah about the Trump administration's handling of the allegations, which they reportedly knew about for weeks.

"But he says, 'I didn't do that.' I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country", Trump said. The staff secretary resigned later Wednesday. "His background investigation was ongoing". He, too, denies the allegations. The FBI flagged McGahn six months later. Nor did he act in September when he learned that the domestic violence claims were delaying Porter's security clearance, or in November when Porter's former girlfriend contacted him about the allegations, according to these people.

The Porter crisis has damaged Kelly's credibility not only publicly but also inside the White House, where officials said he was losing the support of some West Wing staffers because of his management of the situation and apparent lack of transparency.

Willoughby has launched a TV campaign, appearing on CNN and the Today show, to expose his alleged pattern of domestic violence.

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A White House official said McGahn was only aware that ex-wives were prepared to make damaging accusations about him but did not ask what the accusations were because Porter said they were not true.

Shah also conceded the crisis could have been better handled by senior White House officials. Meanwhile, questions were swirling about how long his White House colleagues had known about the alleged abuse.

"We recognize that you and the president have tremendous discretion in deciding whom to hire to work in the White House", they wrote. There's plenty of material for Porter to at least draft a complaint.

Staff secretary Rob Porter, one of the president's closest aides, resigned Wednesday after the publication of allegations that he'd abused his two ex-wives.

As staff secretary, Porter's responsibility was mainly in the flow of paper that crossed Trump's desk, including the wave of executive orders and actions that Trump inked during the first months of his tenure. A background check for security clearance was in progress at the time of his resignation. According to one transition team official, Kushner told Flynn that blocking a United Nations resolution on Israel was a top priority of the president-elect. On Wednesday, when the story broke, Kelly said he was "shocked" by the most recent allegations and said domestic violence has no place in our society. "While we are all processing the shocking and troubling allegations made against a former White House staffer", Kelly declared. "It's a very hard call because none of us actually do know what the facts or truth are, and Rob Porter did deny it".

After one of those incidents he attempted to leave in his auto "and she ran after him as he was pulling away, injuring herself in the process", the Post said.

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