Former General John Kelly is Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, and he is embroiled in an imbroglio of his own making, as we detailed last week at Paste:
Earlier this week, the Daily Mail published a report from [Rob] Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, saying that Porter “pulled me, naked and dripping from the shower to yell at me.” She filed a protective order against him because he “was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive and that is why I left.” John Kelly responded to this story by releasing a statement calling Porter “a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”
The following day, Porter’s first wife came forward with evidence of abuse.
The White House has issued conflicting stories on what they knew about John Kelly’s top aide and when. Kelly said last week that Rob Porter was gone “40 minutes” after he learned of the allegations. Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that he was gone “24 hours” later. Now, the FBI Director just told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Bureau filed a report that pushes the timeline of when the White House knew of Rob Porter’s abuse much farther back than when we all learned about it.
It was already reported that the White House knew in November, and White House Principal Deputy Secretary Raj Shah was on Fox & Friends this morning pushing back against the idea they would know about this (before Wray revealed they knew about this in his testimony).
The entire upper echelon of the executive branch is claiming that they were not aware of a completed FBI report sent to the executive branch. The only reason that this argument has a shred of credibility is because everyone in the White House is so bad at their jobs that it's not completely out of the realm of possibility that they would fail at one of their most basic responsibilities.
UPDATE: CNN is now reporting that the White House was considering a promotion for Porter when he resigned last week.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.