John Kelly renews defense in wake of Rob Porter abuse scandal

Lester Mason
March 2, 2018

Kelly's statement at the time said, "Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor, and I can't say enough good things about him".

White House chief of staff John Kelly joked Thursday that leaving his post as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for his current position was the result of God's wrath.

About two hours later, Kelly said he was made aware of a second press inquiry regarding allegations of verbal and physical abuse by another of Porter's ex-wives.

Kelly began his role as Secretary of Homeland Security in July, but was forced to leave just six months later when he was appointed to replace Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff.

A White House official who requested anonymity to respond to the accusations said Kelly wouldn't interfere with a national security review because of a personal dispute, adding that transactions are judged against established standards. "I talked to Rob again to make sure he knew he had resigned". Porter's security clearance background on February 6.

Kelly also defended himself, saying he only knew about claims of emotional abuse and was unaware of accusations that Porter struck one of his ex-wives when he publicly praised Porter.

Mr Scaramucci says he now fears general Kelly will thwart his bid to sell his stake in SkyBridge Capital to China's HNA Group Co.

"I have absolutely nothing to even consider resigning over", Mr. Kelly told reporters at the White House.

"Let's see what he says about that", Mr Scaramucci said.

Painting a picture of a neophyte staff of outsiders, unfamiliar with Washington and learning how to run the world s preeminent superpower, Kelly said he moved to bring habits in line with the Pentagon and military, where he served for decades.

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who had dated Porter at one time, took criticism over the communications strategy over the Porter resignation.

"In terms of the handling of classified material" he said the White House "wasn t up to the standards that I d been used to".

"He had the information", Scaramucci told CNN.

"Kelly's explanation did not fully comport with CNN's reporting on the Porter scandal, however", CNN noted.

The issue of clearances would ultimately engulf the White House, leading to - according to other sources - Jared Kushner having his clearance downgraded.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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