CNN: “One White House official said that, although unspoken, it was clear that other staffers were worried about raising questions about Porter’s clearance issues because they were concerned it would resurrect scrutiny surrounding Kushner’s own issues.”
New York Times: “Described as charismatic, intense and privileged, Mr. Porter, the son of Roger B. Porter, a Harvard professor and a former domestic policy adviser to President George Bush, spent years building on his pedigree. He grew up Mormon in a family with close ties to the elite Mormon enclave of Belmont, Mass., collected degrees from Harvard and Oxford University and amassed prestigious job titles. Though many described him as composed and calm, others in his ultracompetitive workplaces described him as tightly wound, revealing occasional glimpses of how angry he could become, particularly if anyone got in his way. A former White House official said the temper flare-ups left him with the sense that Mr. Porter was more volatile and troubled than his clean-cut image let on.”
Colbie Holderness and Jennie Willoughby, ex-wives of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, have received letters of apology from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who defended his former aide from “a vile attack” after two ex-wives accused Porter of domestic abuse, the AP reports.
“Rob Porter was involved in serious discussions to be promoted when he abruptly resigned from the White House last week amid allegations that he abused his two ex-wives,” CNN reports.
“Porter had been actively lobbying to take on new policy portfolios outside the traditional scope of the staff secretary, one person familiar with the matter said, which included speechwriting duties and a role in planning policy rollouts. Neither of those tasks is traditionally carried out by the staff secretary.”
FBI director Christopher Wray “contradicted the White House timeline about the domestic abuse scandal involving Rob Porter, the president’s former staff secretary,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Wray said that the bureau delivered to the White House a partial report on problems in Mr. Porter’s background in March, months earlier than the White House has admitted receiving the information.”
A day after White House press secretary Sarah Sanders emphasized that “above all, the President supports victims of domestic violence,” dismissed aide Rob Porter’s two ex-wives tell CNN that they have not heard from or had any contact with a single person at the White House.
“Hours after allegations of domestic abuse came to light — including stark photos of one ex-wife with a black eye and a harrowing account of violence from a second ex-wife — former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter sought to downplay the narrative, instead offering stories of household mishaps and minor squabbles,” ABC News reports.
Jonathan Swan: “Behind closed doors: The president has told multiple people that he believes the accusations about Porter, and finds him ‘sick.'”
“Four sources who have spoken directly with Trump tell me his private comments about ex-aide Porter — whose two ex-wives accused of violent attacks — have been brutal.”
“But his public comments don’t reflect that, at all. This is the strongest indicator yet that Trump will reflexively defend his male allies from any and all accusations, even when he thinks those accusations are true.”
White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter is telling associates that some senior White House officials strongly encouraged him to “stay and fight,” and claims he “never misrepresented anything” to Chief of Staff John Kelly, Axios reports.
“This White House has a culture problem, starting at the top. The natural instinct is to defend/deny and show scant, if any, concern for the women alleging misconduct and harm. And when the going gets tough internally, the other natural instinct is to blame everyone but yourself.”
According to the version Porter is providing associates, he told Kelly on Tuesday that a Daily Mail story was coming, and “indicated that based on the questions the reporter was asking, it would be bad.”
Daily Beast: “As his White House has become engulfed in controversy over its handling of allegations of spousal abuse leveled against former Staff Secretary Rob Porter, President Donald Trump has privately questioned the credibility of the accusers. In fact, the president has gone as far as to express doubts to aides and friends about the assault allegations, and has asked repeatedly if there are any reasons Porter’s two ex-wives could have to make up such claims.”
“Trump’s skepticism has been apparent in discussions with confidants and officials, who tell The Daily Beast that, at least in their conversations, he has not expressed sympathy for the ex-wives, Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby, who have gone on the record to allege physical violence.”
Politico: “The president has consistently responded to the allegations of assault or abuse against women by expressing sympathy for the men being accused.”
President Trump praised Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary who resigned on Wednesday amid spousal abuse allegations, saying it was a “tough time” for the disgraced former aide who “did a very good job,” the New York Times reports.
Said Trump: “We wish him well. As you probably know, he says he is innocent.”
“The glowing praise of a staff member accused of serial violence against women was in line with the president’s own denials of sexual impropriety despite accusations from more than a dozen women and his habit of accepting claims of innocence from men facing similar allegations.”
President 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,” CNN reports.
“Trump was not consulted when Hicks and several other aides drafted a White House statement defending Porter, and he is under the impression that Hicks has let her romantic relationship with Porter cloud her judgment.”
“White House Counsel Donald McGahn knew one year ago that Staff Secretary Rob Porter’s ex-wives accused him of domestic violence, but allowed him to serve as an influential gatekeeper and aide to President Trump,” the Washington Post reports.
“Chief of Staff John F. Kelly learned in September about the allegations of spousal abuse and that they were delaying Porter’s security clearance amid an ongoing FBI investigation. But Kelly handed Porter more responsibilities to control the flow of information to the president.”
White House officials told Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) office that the story that White House staff secretary Rob Porter had abused his two ex-wives was the product of a “smear campaign” being orchestrated against Porter by his political enemies, the Daily Beast reports.
“Among those they pinpointed was former Trump campaign manager (and current outside adviser to the president) Corey Lewandowski… Multiple White House staffers told Hatch himself that Lewandowski ‘was digging into Rob’s previous marriages,’ recalled one source, who said Porter himself was among the officials who fingered Lewandowski.”
An ex-wife of Trump aide Rob Porter — who is currently dating White House communications director Hope Hicks — tells the Daily Mail that he “choked, punched and belittled her about her weight her during their five-year marriage.”
Axios reports Porter has resigned with this statement:
These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described. I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.
The Intercept reports the FBI discovered the abuse of Porter’s ex-wives during a background check.