John Kelly sends staff email condemning domestic violence

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Chief of Staff John Kelly learned this fall about the allegations of spousal abuse and that they were delaying Porter's security clearance amid an ongoing FBI investigation.

Staff secretary Rob Porter says allegations that became public this week are "outrageous" and "simply false". That effort continues even after his resignation.

President Donald Trump has grown increasingly frustrated with Hope Hicks, his communications director and one of his closest confidantes, amid the fallout from the Rob Porter scandal, people familiar with the matter say.

The chief of staff's handling of the matter has drawn the ire of Trump, according to two people who speak to the president regularly but are not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations. Kelly, meanwhile, was Porter's loudest defender, including in the first hours after the graphic photos of alleged abuse emerged.

But as CNN reported Thursday, it was widely known by early fall of past year among top aides - Kelly included - that Porter was facing trouble obtaining security clearance and that he had allegedly abused his ex-wives.

When the allegations first emerged against Porter a number of senior aides rallied around him, and the White House acknowledged that personal relationships may have played a role in their response. But Hatch largely stood by his sentiments the next day, when he encouraged Porter to "keep a stiff upper lip and work on his problems".

"There was no coordination of this", she said.

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He added that resources would be available to any White House staffer who would like to seek counseling.

Allegations of domestic violence can be grounds for the government to deny security clearances.

Porter's second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, also described for the DailyMail.com how Porter once dragged her naked and wet from the shower to yell at her. Though he is coy about what he's getting at when he asks about Mulvaney, most aides and associates assume he is referencing the chief of staff position. He was operating on an interim security clearance. Shah says that, "like many of us", Trump "did not see that in Rob Porter".

The controversy over Porter's case has focused on the reaction of Kelly, who on Tuesday, after the Daily Mail newspaper published the interviews, defended his subordinate as "a man of true integrity and honor". Sanders said Porter would stay on for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition.

CNN reported that following their 2003 marriage, Holderness said Porter quickly began to be abusive: "She said that Porter's repeated physically abusive behavior also included throwing her on the bed and forcefully pushing one of his limbs into her body in anger and choking her". She took out a protective order against him after he reportedly violated a separation agreement and punched through glass in the door of their home, cutting himself, she said.

On Thursday, the Post also reported that Porter has been explaining the pictures of Holderness' black eye, which she has distributed to the media, saying that "they were arguing over a vase, and she was somehow hit with the vase".

In the photos provided to the website The Intercept, the reporter said that they were taken when the couple took a vacation in Italy together.

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