White House Aide Resigns After Ex-Wives Claim Domestic Abuse

Saul Bowman
February 9, 2018

Now his boss is saddled with bad headlines about a wife-beater in the West Wing. That effort continues even after his resignation.

Porter denies the allegations, calling them "outrageous" and "simply false" in a statement read by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Wednesday on CNN's "The Lead", host Jake Tapper said President Donald Trump is continuing to erode the "basic lines of human decency". He was upset when shown reports of the abuse, which first emerged on Tuesday.

Porter added that he had been transparent and truthful, but would leave the White House after a transition period.

The Intercept reported Wednesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was aware of the abuse allegations against Porter, which they uncovered during a background check for security clearance. Porter's history of domestic abuse reportedly blocked him from receiving a full security clearance. No action was taken to remove him from the staff. It wasn't until last week that Kelly knew he had been twice married, this official said.

Porter's ex-wives said they informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in January 2017 of their allegations against him while they were being interviewed by agents as part of Porter's security clearance review.

Here's the full statement: "I am heartbroken by today's allegations".

His second wife, Jennifer Willoughy, said he physically assaulted her during their marriage and she was constantly scared of his anger.

"Background checks involve a complex investigation run by intelligence and law enforcement agencies", Mrs Sanders told reporters.


This same statement also appeared in the Daily Mail's reporting. She later confirmed to the Daily Mail that it was about him.

The same publication recently reported that Porter had been dating White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.

Kelly's decision to go to bat for Porter deeply frustrated White House staffers, sources told me. "He is a friend, a confidant and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him", chief of staff John Kelly said in a statement. But by the next day, it was evident the show of support wouldn't quiet the controversy. As White House staff secretary he, along with Chief of Staff John Kelly, acted as a gatekeeper, limiting access to the President.

Congressional Democrats have been trying for months to get the White House to provide information about its security clearance process, including how many White House aides have been granted interim clearances because of issues that arose during their Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks.

Rob Porter was a squeaky-clean aide who made sure that papers landing on the president's desk were in order. It is understood that Porter resigned his position. Kelly also encouraged Porter to "stay and fight" instead of walking away from his job.

"Up until then, he had always done it in a way that didn't leave marks", Holderness said.

"When Sen. Hatch spoke to Rob at the White House today, the two discussed his next steps and Sen". The President was impressed by Porter's educational credentials - including degrees from Harvard and Oxford - a person familiar with the matter said. "And the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described". "Another moment where the White House is, sadly, no longer considered a place of the highest standards in the land, but rather a place where our national standards are being degraded".

Both women detailed the allegations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation when the agency was conducting a background check on him.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER