John Kelly Defends Himself, Sees No Reason to Resign Over Porter Scandal

Homeland Security

Porter resigned last month over reports that he had abused two ex-wives.

I get that. But it's hard in retrospect to see Kelly's opinion of Porter as anything more than as a misjudgment.

Now Mr Scaramucci is at it again, but this time the target is Mr Kelly - making him one of the chief f staff's most high-profile critics at a time when some other loyalists are questioning whether the president is being ill-served by the chief of staff, who has limited his access to some of his closest allies from the campaign.

While Kelly said Friday that Porter's presence in the West Wing on February 7 was a mistake, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at the time that Porter would ultimately be resigning, but planned to stay on to ensure a smooth transition.

Porter had resigned as White House staff secretary.

"The first accusation had to do with a messy divorce but no mention of [any] type of physical abuse", Kelly said then, describing the events of February 6 following the second allegation, which included physical abuse. "He had already resigned".

"What makes General Kelly's timeline today so weird is we've had evidence nearly from the beginning suggesting it simply is not true and there's every reason to believe that he knows that better than we do".

When the reports first came out, the White House said that President Trump was "saddened" to hear it.

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"The accusation was late in the afternoon, and it was simply one of his two former wives had - this was coming from the press - one of you had asked Sarah".

Asked why President Trump and Kelly both issued statements praising Porter after they learned of the allegations, Kelly said they did it out of respect.

Kelly said that he and White House counsel Don McGahn were not aware of the Federal Bureau of Investigation flags about Porter's security clearance until after. Porter resigned before the photograph emerged.

Kelly also tried to deflect blame for Porter - despite being a gateway of sensitive and classified documents going to the president - not having a permanent top secret security clearance.

Initially, many top aides rallied around Porter and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director who was dating Porter and helped draft the original statements defending him.

"I have absolutely nothing to even consider resigning over", he said, but added, "We didn't cover ourselves in glory in terms of how we handled that on Wednesday morning; it was confusing". As staff secretary, Porter was not only nearly always with Trump but the person who literally handed Trump most of what he saw and read. The chief of staff also said the claims shocked him and the rest of the staff. "His religion, his focus on work, etc. They still not had evaluated his package to make a recommendation one way or the other", he explained.

The FBI said it completed an investigation into Porter's background in the summer of 2017 as part of the security-clearance approval process and had sent those findings to the White House.

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