Man Under Fire: John Kelly Takes Heat in Porter Scandal
Chief of staff is reportedly pushing a narrative that contradicts other accounts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2018 8:00 AM CST
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly watches as President Trump makes remarks to members of the media during his arrival at the Pentagon, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – John Kelly finds himself squarely in the spotlight again after his defense of White House staff secretary Rob Porter as "a man of true integrity and honor" in the wake of domestic abuse allegations. President Trump's chief of staff has since pronounced himself appalled at the allegations and has issued a lengthy memo to White House staffers calling domestic violence "abhorrent," reports CNN. But his initial reaction continues to draw criticism, along with whispers that his days may be numbered. Details and developments:

  • The problem: Kelly still hasn't "adequately answered" when he first learned of the allegations, notes Jonathan Swan at Axios, and the official line that he became "fully aware" only after a recent Daily Mail story "doesn't pass the smell test." For one thing, Porter's ex-wives had spoken to the FBI; plus a police report and a restraining order were filed.
  • New version? The Washington Post reports that Kelly is pushing the narrative that he acted decisively once he learned the accusations had merit, but that contradicts the accounts of other White House officials. The AP reports that Kelly learned of the serious allegations against Porter last fall while looking into security clearances. All of the above is leading to quotes like this from Democratic Sen. Jon Tester: "If John Kelly is covering this up, he needs to be held accountable. He better have a really good reason. Otherwise, he's gone, too."

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