White House counsel Don McGahn and chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE knew about domestic abuse allegations against White House staff secretary Rob Porter for months before he was forced to resign, according to a new report.
The Washington Post reports that McGahn knew about allegations from Porter's two ex-wives of physical and emotional abuse at least a year ago, while Kelly knew as early as last fall yet gave Porter a bigger role in controlling the flow of information to President TrumpDonald TrumpPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy Hannity after Jan. 6 texted McEnany 'no more stolen election talk' in five-point plan for Trump MORE.
McGahn initially learned of the allegations in January 2017 but saw Porter as a steadying force in the Trump administration and wanted him to remain on-staff, the Post reports.
In June, the FBI notified the White House of some of its findings, while McGahn and Kelly both failed to act after learning in the fall that domestic violence claims were delaying Porter’s security clearance, according to the report.
McGahn personally received a call from one of Porter's former girlfriends in November who told him to investigate the allegations made by Porter's ex-wives, according to the newspaper. McGahn notified other personnel in the Trump administration, but failed to take any further action on the claims.
McGahn declined to comment to the Post through a White House spokesman.
Porter resigned on Wednesday, a day after the allegations were first revealed by the Daily Mail and after images of his first wife's bruised face surfaced online. In a statement, Porter called the allegations "outrageous" and part of a "smear campaign."
“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,” Porter said in a statement.
Kelly has been been at the center of a storm over his handling of the Porter case, with several Democratic lawmakers calling for him to resign or be fired over the incident.
The chief of staff issued a second statement late Wednesday calling the allegations "shocking" after initially defending Porter in a previous statement.
"I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter. There is no place for domestic violence in our society," Kelly said.
"I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming Chief of Staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation," he continued. "I accepted his resignation earlier today, and will ensure a swift and orderly transition."