Kelly's Handling of Ex-Trump Aide Scrutinized After FBI Account

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The report included abuse allegations by Porter's two ex-wives, a person familiar with the matter said.

White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE's handling of the domestic abuse allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter "amounts to dereliction of duty", a White House official said amid fallout from the scandal.

At the hearing with Wray on Tuesday, senators asked about the security clearance status of Trump aide and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and whether White House officials who have not received a full security clearance should have access to classified material.

In a tense exchange on Monday's show, Kilmeade pressed Hogan Gidley, another White House deputy press secretary, on Trump's response to the allegations against Porter.

It was Kelly, in his first day as chief of staff, who carried out Scaramucci's dismissal last July.

The New York Times reported that White House counsel Don McGahn was made aware last June that an issue had arisen in Porter's background investigation, but White House officials disputed that account to the newspaper.

The White House says Americans issued their verdict on all of that when they elected Trump.

Typically, officials in sensitive positions are initially given interim security clearances while investigators seek out friends, ex-spouses and others for interviews.

"Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honour, and I can't say enough good things about him", Kelly said.

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White House officials also emphasized the same day that Porter had not been asked to resign, and Sanders invited a select group of reporters to meet with Porter to hear his side of the story, according to a report in Politico.

The FBI and the White House have some pretty contradictory statements about former White House secretary Rob Porter.

Porter also allegedly abused a third woman while they were dating, but she has declined to come forward publicly. "And then we administratively closed the file in January, and then earlier this month we received some additional information and we passed that on as well", he added without elaborating further.

His explanation in a congressional hearing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had completed its background check on Porter in July, offered additional information in November in response to White House requests and closed the file in January meant that Sanders had either lied with her account of events on Monday - or was not fully in the loop about what is going on inside the White House. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The new explanation, by an anonymous official, is unlikely, however, to make the days-long fallout from the Porter affair go away - and may only serve to fuel the media feeding frenzy engulfing the White House.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who testified at the same Tuesday, said people with interim clearances should have limited access to classified information. Trump called them liars and said he'd sue them - though that hasn't happened.

Meanwhile, Colbie Holderness, Porter's first wife, pushed back against comments made by presidential counsellor Kellyanne Conway that seemed to suggest strong women can't be victims of domestic violence.

Porter also conceded in the meeting that he had called his second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, "a f***ing bitch" while on their honeymoon in 2009, as the Daily Mail had reported. The shock and awe emanating from the White House about Porter aren't so much a commentary on the man, but are testament to the surreal and potentially perilous incompetence surrounding the president. "I beg to differ". In fact, the White House spent the first hours after learning of the accusations - including the publication of photographs of one of his ex-wives with a black eye that she said he gave her - defending Porter against the allegations and insisting that he was not being dismissed from his job.

A final takeaway from the briefing is that the system operating between the White House and the intelligence community is broken when it comes to the security clearance and classification process. But in this particular instance, you're talking about sources that I can't verify because I've not had that conversation with him. Remember in Mike Flynn's case, it was the acting attorney general and head of the national security division at the justice department physically personally came to the white house to warn that Mike Flynn was a serious security risk.

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