Trump says he was 'surprised' by abuse allegations against Rob Porter

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly left walks with White House staff secretary Rob Porter to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly left walks with White House staff secretary Rob Porter to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on Friday morning instructed senior staff to communicate a version of events about the departure of staff secretary Rob Porter that contradicts the Trump administration's previous accounts, according to two senior officials. While it appears that President Donald Trump himself was unaware of these allegations, others in the White House allegedly knew about them for months.

The president's chief of staff, John Kelly, was informed of the allegations, and that they were being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and had denied Porter a permanent security clearance, last fall.

Trump has also grown upset with his White House communications director Hope Hicks, who despite being in a romantic relationship with Porter helped craft the White House's initial pushback to the allegations, a source familiar said.

"I can tell you that Rob has been effective in his role as staff secretary, and the president and chief of staff have had full confidence and trust in his abilities and his performance", she told reporters.

"As you probably know he says he is innocent", Trump added, saying that Porter did "very well" in the White House.

Marcus said, "This is from the man who told us he longed for the days when women were sacred, this is an absolute failure, no matter what he says now, to understand the significance in a workplace context of domestic abuse allegations in your personal life".

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White House spokesman Raj Shah is calling the allegations "upsetting" and "shocking".

Dozens of President Trump's top aides are reportedly working with temporary security clearances.

Shah says Porter's last day was Wednesday, but Porter came into the office briefly Thursday to clear out his stuff.

Still, Trump had only kinds words for his former aide.

Staff secretary Rob Porter says allegations that became public this week are "outrageous" and "simply false".

Porter's ex-wives claim he was physically and emotionally abusive against them. Willoughby and Holderness said they gave interviews only after being contacted earlier this week by reporters for the Daily Mail and the Intercept asking about a blog post Willoughby wrote in April that described spousal abuse but did not name Porter. In 2010, a judge granted his second wife a restraining order against Porter. Kelly issued an initial statement Tuesday featuring effusive praise for Porter, and reports indicated that even as Porter was resigning, Kelly had urged him to stay on and fight.

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