White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is increasingly coming under fire for his handling of Rob Porter, the former White House Staff Secretary who was pushed out of the West Wing after it became apparent that he abused two of his ex-wives.
Testimony delivered by FBI Director Chris Wray is raising more questions about what Kelly knew about the abuse, and when he knew it.
Politico reported that Kelly knew Porter would be denied security clearance before the abuse allegations surfaced, leading many to speculate that he knew the severity of the Staff Secretary’s actions, and failed to act on it.
Now, Wray’s testimony indicates Kelly knew of Porter’s abuse allegations over six months ago, months earlier than officials claimed they learned of issues with his background check.
Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci pounced on the news, demanding Kelly resign.
“Based on FBI testimony, WH Chief of Staff John Kelly almost certainly knew about credible allegations of domestic abuse against Rob Porter at least 6 months ago — then recently forced others to lie about that timeline. Inexcusable. Kelly must resign,” Scaramucci tweeted.
Based on FBI testimony, WH Chief of Staff John Kelly almost certainly knew about credible allegations of domestic abuse against Rob Porter at least 6 months ago – then recently forced others to lie about that timeline. Inexcusable. Kelly must resign. https://t.co/ydt7dmD7xs
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) February 13, 2018
A New York Times report also indicates that top officials knew something was amiss with Porter’s background investigation in November.
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Further muddying the waters of Kelly’s timeline of events, was testimony from Wray indicating the FBI finalized their background investigation on Porter in January.
Top administration officials – including Kelly – insisted that Porter’s background investigation was still “ongoing” at the time of his resignation.
That’s multiple reports now that Kelly knew about the abuse allegations over six months ago, knew of problems with his background check in November, and had a finalized report from the FBI in January.
Porter didn’t resign until February 7th.
Despite these inconsistencies, the Chief of Staff insists the handling of Porter’s case was “all done right.”
“It was all done right”: White House chief of staff John Kelly is defending the handling of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned last week after media reports revealed allegations by his ex-wives that he abused them https://t.co/aeVD2s6Alx pic.twitter.com/QMM3Tp2gwM
— CNN (@CNN) February 13, 2018
“It was all done right,” Kelly said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
To that end, Wray seems to agree, saying he was “quite confident” established protocol was followed.
Should Kelly have followed protocol or used common sense in dealing with Porter? The President will have to decide that.
In his morning email blast, Mike Allen of Axios reports that the events swirling around Kelly resemble those that haunted former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus before his unceremonious firing. Could Kelly face the same fate?
Do you think Kelly should be fired? Share your thoughts below!
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