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Kelly aware of aide's past

Porter, 40, who coordinated the flow of documents to President Trump in the Oval Office, had been under fire since Willoughby and Colbie Holderness, another of Porter's ex-wives, publicly shared their stories of domestic abuse.

Porter denied the allegations in a statement Sanders read to reporters Wednesday.

Porter is reportedly dating White House Communications Director Hope Hicks. "His pathetic defense of staff secretary Rob Porter reveals his true nature - an enabler of sexual abusers, a betrayer of trust and an avoider of responsibility". Cunningham, according to the email, said "that was good", she was "not obligated" to speak with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and that they should "bury the past".

Porter was unusually visible - in part because of his role in Trump's frequent signing-ceremony photo opportunities.

Shah would not specify how much the White House was aware of regarding the allegations against Porter over the past year during the news briefing. Last month, Cummings and other House Democrats wrote to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, asking for information related to the staff's interim security clearance process and expressing concern about President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. Media has indicated that Kelly is the "adult" in a White House of non-professionals. "I think he did a very good job, and I wish him the very best".

In the complaint, Willoughby said Porter punched in a glass door while she was locked inside the apartment, but left after he heard she was on the phone with police.




Porter denied the allegations but resigned abruptly.

Shah says Trump was surprised, saddened and disheartened by the news reports and images. Only after the Daily Mail and the Intercept published a photograph of one of Porter's ex-wives with a bruised eye, which she said was the result of Porter punching her, did Kelly and others in the West Wing stop defending their former colleague.

Porter has called the accusations "outrageous" and "simply false". Sean Spicer filled in the gaps but was on his way out by the time Scaramucci imploded, leaving Hicks - a member of Team Trump since the earliest days of the 2016 campaign - the impossible task of managing the messaging of this White House. We saw it with the upwards of a dozen women who say Trump harassed them, or worse.

Porter, a Rhodes scholar and Harvard-educated lawyer, worked closely with Chief of Staff Kelly in deciding which articles and policy proposals were given to Trump for his review.

It has also emerged that Mr Porter had not yet received full White House security clearance, despite working for the president over the course of a year. He nearly always accompanied the president when he traveled, and frequently could be seen near Trump as he boarded Marine One and Air Force One.

In the emotional interview on Thursday night, Willoughby also said her ex-husband asked her to "downplay" her account in an April 2017 blog post titled "Why I stayed". As an assistant to the president, Porter was paid the top White House staff salary of $179,000.

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