Senators demand answers from White House chief of staff, counsel on Rob Porter

Democrats are demanding answers from the White House chief of staff and counsel about former aide Rob Porter, who res...

Posted: Feb 11, 2018 9:03 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2018 9:03 PM

Democrats are demanding answers from the White House chief of staff and counsel about former aide Rob Porter, who resigned Wednesday amid allegations of domestic abuse.

A group of twelve Democratic senators sent a letter Friday to chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn asking when they first knew of the domestic abuse allegations against Porter by his ex-wives.

"We recognize that you and the President have tremendous discretion in deciding whom to hire to work in the White House," the letter read. "However, we are troubled by published accounts suggesting that you decided to hire Mr. Porter despite the fact he could not get a security clearance and that you were aware of the specific domestic violence allegations made against him."

The senators also question whether Porter, who served as Trump's staff secretary, disclosed the allegations on his applications for a security clearance or White House employment. They said they wanted to know if Porter was ever denied a security clearance and if he handled classified information with an interim security clearance.

The allegations of domestic abuse against Porter first came to light Tuesday.

Porter's two ex-wives claimed in an interview with CNN's MJ Lee that they experienced years of abuse from Porter, including incidents of physical violence, and said they detailed the allegations to the FBI as the agency conducted a routine background check into Porter. Porter denied the allegations as "outrageous" and "simply false."

CNN reported Wednesday that Kelly was aware in the fall of last year that Porter was having trouble obtaining his security clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. Sources told CNN that Porter first told McGahn in January 2017 that his ex-wives may present potentially damaging information during the FBI background check.

But no action was taken to remove Porter from the staff, and instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter's standing; for example, he was one of a handful of aides who helped draft last week's State of the Union address.

The White House declined to comment Wednesday when asked about Kelly's knowledge of the allegations against Porter. In a statement released Wednesday evening, Kelly said he was "shocked" by the "new allegations" against Porter.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Thursday that the White House "could have done better" over the last few days in "dealing with" the domestic violence allegations against Porter. Shah also repeatedly declined to get into specifics about how much the White House knew last year about the allegations against Porter.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment on the letter.

The twelve senators who signed the letter to Kelly and McGahn include: Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 660071

Reported Deaths: 12531
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion904161633
Lake48298874
Allen35720633
Hamilton31970396
St. Joseph29796510
Elkhart25331412
Vanderburgh21192377
Tippecanoe19927199
Johnson16312356
Porter15917269
Hendricks15785300
Clark11913180
Madison11717315
Vigo11562229
Monroe10300159
Delaware9824179
LaPorte9739196
Howard9038195
Kosciusko8539108
Bartholomew7424147
Hancock7399130
Warrick7399150
Floyd7180167
Wayne6622191
Grant6413157
Boone606888
Morgan6066124
Dubois5890111
Dearborn544466
Cass542899
Marshall5414104
Henry541392
Noble508476
Jackson464165
Shelby459890
Lawrence4174111
Gibson400981
Harrison397863
Clinton394453
Montgomery385083
DeKalb384378
Knox356285
Miami356163
Whitley348435
Huntington341876
Steuben337455
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Ripley326461
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White297152
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Greene260780
Posey260431
Wells257174
Scott250050
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Clay240344
Randolph225376
Spencer216930
Jennings214344
Washington209927
Sullivan202939
Fountain201042
Starke187250
Owen181953
Fulton177937
Jay177528
Carroll176218
Perry173335
Orange170950
Rush164322
Vermillion160141
Franklin159135
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Parke138615
Pike127432
Blackford120527
Pulaski106544
Newton96531
Brown94839
Benton91713
Crawford90313
Martin80114
Warren75312
Switzerland7527
Union66910
Ohio52911
Unassigned0433

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 964380

Reported Deaths: 17183
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1114961198
Cuyahoga950781723
Hamilton72988958
Montgomery47128883
Summit39949954
Butler35292468
Lucas35069761
Stark29218837
Warren22294272
Lorain21904389
Mahoning19348540
Lake18307304
Clermont18271210
Delaware16347135
Licking14893199
Fairfield14449157
Trumbull14239460
Greene13520212
Medina13290219
Clark12194335
Wood11460193
Portage10928155
Allen10742233
Richland10226205
Miami9984187
Muskingum8125129
Columbiana8086182
Tuscarawas8003235
Pickaway800199
Marion7963137
Wayne7837218
Erie6826184
Ross6104136
Geauga6030129
Hancock5965112
Ashtabula5917144
Scioto5906104
Lawrence521874
Union508852
Darke5021123
Belmont488388
Huron4761117
Jefferson4756107
Sandusky474494
Seneca4640103
Athens460931
Washington458787
Mercer4577101
Auglaize454698
Shelby440368
Knox400486
Putnam3976101
Madison390947
Fulton377364
Ashland377195
Defiance3699102
Brown368342
Crawford356096
Logan352459
Preble351771
Clinton338564
Highland326255
Ottawa320867
Williams301077
Jackson288556
Guernsey285034
Champaign284445
Fayette267644
Perry266743
Morrow258624
Henry244865
Hardin243256
Holmes2428104
Coshocton232847
Van Wert228549
Gallia220746
Adams215132
Pike213627
Wyandot208752
Hocking193248
Carroll179828
Paulding159223
Meigs134636
Noble128442
Monroe115636
Morgan100434
Harrison100132
Vinton76615
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