Axios: Porter claims WH told him to 'stay and fight'

Kellyanne Conway on CNN's

An unnamed member of Congress told Axios that Kelly claims Porter misled him about what a Daily Mail article that first detailed the abuse allegations would say, and that Kelly pushed Porter to resign in the wake of the reports.

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

"Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation", the President tweeted. By early fall of 2017, it was widely known among Trump's top aides - including chief of staff John Kelly - that Porter was facing troubles in obtaining his security clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Christine Todd Whitman tweeted: "The fact that @realDonaldTrump praised Porter and said not a word about his abusive behavior or his former wives is typical of the WH attitude toward women and abuse".

But Kelly's hold on his post seemed the shakiest since he took the job in July, in part because several West Wing aides have had their faith shaken by his handling of the Porter accusations.

Porter's ex-wives detailed the allegations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the course of a routine background check, they told CNN.

"Rob Porter has been effective in his role as staff secretary". Kelly was aware of the allegations well before they were publicly disclosed.

In the case of Sorensen, his former wife, Jessica Corbett, told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents conducting a background check on her husband that he had run over her foot while driving a vehicle and extinguished a cigarette on her hand during a turbulent 2 1/2-year marriage. Later on Friday, the White House said a second Trump administration official had resigned over allegations of domestic abuse.

Rob Porter and Donald Trump
Rob Porter and Donald Trump. Jonathan Ernst Reuters

The White House declined to comment Wednesday when asked about Kelly's knowledge of the allegations against Porter. "He has said this in the past about incidents that relate to him as well". It's a White House where distinguishing between right and wrong is prohibited. You think that maybe someone would have mentioned it to me.

He said the scandal reminds people that Trump has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct.

Communications Director Hope Hicks, who was dating the staff secretary, helped draft the original statements defending him, according to three current and former White House officials.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump would address massive crowds to chants of "lock her up", referencing his political opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Vice President Mike Pence, who is attending the Olympics in South Korea, tried to distance himself from the issue, but also stressed in an NBC interview that "there is no tolerance in this White House , no place in America for domestic abuse".

"That's like saying that ax murderer out there, he's a great painter", said former Vice President Joe Biden.

More news: Third-ranking US Justice Department official resigns amid turmoil

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