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White House: Trump 'shocked' by domestic abuse claims against ex-aides

12 February 2018

Kelly has come under fire since the allegations against Rob Porter surfaced.

Kelly has been in the role since July 2017, when he took over from former chief of staff Reince Priebus.

"I spoke with the president last night about this very issue, and he wanted me to reemphasize to everyone, including this morning, that he has full confidence in his current chief of staff, General John Kelly, and that he is not actively looking for replacements, " White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on ABC's "This Week".

"I'm going to keep standing with them, and trusting them, even if the president won't", she said.

White House legislative director Marc Short denied that Trump personally waived Porter's interim security clearance, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation made further checks on his background, to allow him to handle the highly classified documents that flow to the president's desk. "And he will step aside anytime the president doesn't want him to be there".

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The president followed that up Saturday with a tweet that "lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation". Wallace questioned the women in the White House after not resigning after abuse allegations of a White House aide.

Trump also told reporters on Friday that Porter's departure was "very sad" and that "he did a very good job while he was in the White House", but he did not express sympathy for the women Porter allegedly abused, instead focusing on Porter's claim of innocence.

"That the work Rob was doing in the White House was of higher value than our mental, emotional or physical well-being", she wrote. The following day, Porter's former boss Donald Trump lamented the situation - but his sympathies clearly were with Porter rather than the women who say they were subject to his abuse.

"Look, he denies it", Trump said in November when he broke his silence on the matter. Porter denied the allegations when he resigned from his position on Wednesday and said the two women were involved in a "smear campaign" against him.

"That dynamic leaves many simply unwilling to consider the possibility that he has engaged in acts of violence, and when people aren't willing to imagine that, the easiest thing to do is disbelieve the woman making these allegations", Martin said. "And a week ago, I had no reason to believe that that had ever happened".

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"Well, there is no way for me to know what those two men knew, because I'm not in that line, and nor should I be, " she replied.

That was "probably a very normal and human reaction", Mulvaney told "Fox News Sunday".

But Trump has grown frustrated with Kelly, once commended for bringing discipline to the West Wing but who recently has been at the center of his own controversies. "Not a single time", Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney said Porter was "not entirely forthcoming" when asked about the allegations against him and, once the photos came out, "we dismissed that person immediately".

Vice President Mike Pence, striking a markedly different tone than Trump, said in an interview Friday on MSNBC that "there's no tolerance in this White House and no place in America for domestic abuse".

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White House: Trump 'shocked' by domestic abuse claims against ex-aides