Trump supports Kelly despite White House departures -aides

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

They came amid swirling questions about how White House chief of staff John Kelly had handled the matter and whether he could maintain his job despite Trump's growing frustration.

"He also has full confidence in Hope Hicks, his communications director". "But John Kelly has not offered his resignation", Short said. I told him I would be with you today.

When news of the abuse allegations broke, Kelly released a statement calling Porter "a man of true integrity and honor".

The result is that Porter resigned, she said.

Hicks had also been romantically linked to Trump's first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who was sacked during the campaign.

Kelly tried to push his own timeline in brief comments to The Associated Press and several other news outlets, repeating a narrative he had presented Friday at a senior staff meeting that contradicts accounts provided by multiple White House officials.

On Friday, Trump wished Porter well.

Now the blog is inspiring an outpouring from people who say #MeToo.

He has also publicly defended former Fox News chief Roger Ailes and former Fox host Bill O'Reilly against allegations of sexual harassment, and called Mike Tyson the victim after the former boxer was convicted of rape.

Mulvaney also dismissed the suggestion that Trump has spoken to him about taking over as chief of staff, and said speculation about Kelly's status is being fed by people unhappy that they lost access to Trump when Kelly took over from Reince Priebus. "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".

CBS News has learned that Porter told White House counsel Don McGahn more than a year ago that his background check for a security clearance might reveal unflattering information. John V. Berry, who represents government employees and contractors, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation would have notified the White House about the allegations but noted that the interim clearance would not have prohibited Porter from having access to sensitive information.

"In this case, you have contemporaneous police reports, you have women speaking to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under threat of perjury, you have police reports, you have photographs, and when you look at all of that pulled together, Rob Porter did the right thing by resigning", she said.

Over on Tapper's show Conway, who is close to Hicks, was asked about something Porter's second wife, Jennifer Willoughby told Anderson Cooper Thursday night: that Porter would eventually abuse Hicks.

Trump, in a morning Twitter post, appeared to be defending two of his aides who resigned last week after facing claims of domestic violence.

For many staffers, Kelly had brought a much-needed sense of order to a White House that had been riven with rivalries and was frequently upended by the whims of a mercurial president.

Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly (center) has faced scrutiny over his handling of domestic violence accusations against staff secretary Rob Porter.

But that semblance of confidence has been eroded.