The Rob Porter scandal has exposed the real John Kelly

Kelly's statement came after several news outlets reported the chief of staff had known about the allegations against Porter for some time and sought to keep him in his job anyway.

But she also was forthright in explaining that those powers to twist and spin have allowed Porter to avoid coming to grips with his own behavior. By the time the president was fully briefed of the claims against Porter on Wednesday, the once-rising White House star had already resigned, according to the official. Willoughby also said Porter was verbally abusive.

"Forty minutes later he was gone", Kelly said.

Earlier this week, The Daily Mail reported on the record accusations by Porter's two ex-wives, alleging Porter had physically and verbally abused them.

That seemed to change when one of Porter's ex-wives, Colbie Holderness, released photos of the black eye she says she sustained when Porter hit her. Shah suggested Thursday from the White House podium that this changed things for the White House and influenced Kelly's decision to issue a new statement calling the allegations "shocking". The staff secretary resigned later Wednesday. The aide's application for a permanent clearance had been held up while the FBI investigated the abuse allegation. "And literally that was it".

Though the accusations against Porter became public this week, Kelly learned last fall that something was amiss with the staff secretary's attempts to get a security clearance, according to an administration official who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal matters.

A lawyer by training, Porter spent months overseeing the flow of executive orders and other paperwork crossing Donald Trump's desk, and vetted documents requiring the president's signature. Though he is coy about what he's getting at when he asks about Mulvaney, most aides and associates assume he is referencing the chief of staff position.

While the reason isn't yet clear, Trump also has also been quizzing those around him about their opinion of Budget Director Mick Mulvaney in recent weeks.

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But there was no sign that a move was imminent, according to the people with knowledge of the conversations. But the aftershocks of his resignation reverberated amid concerns about his access to classified information and about how long senior staffers knew about the allegations. Speier, however, said she doesn't think the White House is telling the truth.

As details continue to come out about how much White House officials knew about the accusations Porter's ex-wives have made, there has been increasing pressure on Kelly to resign.

Shah, 32, made his debut address on Thursday following the resignation of staff secretary Rob Porter over domestic abuse allegations.

"He was curious what I was going to say, he really wanted to know, 'what are you going to tell them, '" she said. And the official stressed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had at no point revoked Porter's interim security clearance.

Archive photo taken on September 1, 2017, White House chief aide Jared Kushner, White House chief of staff John Kelly and White House staff secretary Rob Porter appear.

"These outrageous allegations are simply false", he said.

Meanwhile, a number of Democrats denounced Trump's comments about Porter and his lack of empathy for the women who alleged abuse. Shah says that, "like many of us", Trump "did not see that in Rob Porter". By the end, Willoughby said, she was in "constant terror of not knowing what I might do to set something off".

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