Indian-American Raj Shah makes White House press briefing debut

Indian-American Raj Shah makes White House press briefing debut

The tape, uncovered during the 2016 campaign, included an audio of Trump in 2005 bragging about being able to grope women due to his celebrity status. When the allegations first surfaced on Tuesday, the White House, including Kelly, stood by Porter and defended his character.

The episode is a staffing embarrassment for Trump and could threaten Kelly's standing in the White House, some say. "He really wanted to know, 'what are you going to tell them?' and I told him, 'I'm going to tell them the truth". A White House staffer familiar with the president's thinking said Trump feels Kelly "does a good job" and said that Trump rises to Kelly's defense when it seems the news media is out to get him. As staff secretary, Porter is responsible for the flow of presidential paperwork around the West Wing and to the president's desk.

Porter's former wives recounted physical, verbal and emotional abuse they say he subjected them to during their marriages.

In a follow-up statement, Kelly said, "There is no place for domestic violence in our society". Porter continued in his high-level job while his bosses waited for the conclusion of the staff secretary's security clearance investigation, the people said.

Meanwhile, the President has told associates he's dismayed at how the allegations involving his former staff secretary accused of domestic abuse were handled, but he isn't certain how to solve the mushrooming controversy, a person familiar with the conversations tells CNN. The former girlfriend, who also works in the administration, declined to comment Thursday.

Porter called the allegations "outrageous" and "simply false". "But this was the Rob Porter that I and many others have dealt with, that Sarah dealt with, that other officials, including the Chief of Staff, have dealt with".

Shah said that Trump was not aware until Tuesday of the accusations against Porter, who was a frequent presence in the Oval Office and helped craft last week's State of the Union address. He said he took them, but that "the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described".


The support for an alleged batterer who served 13 months in a sensitive White House post is fueling scrutiny of the bench marks for disqualifying top staffers or denying them full security clearances. Porter had an interim clearance, which means he can travel with the president on Air Force One and present him with classified documents. She also said his departure from the White House was not imminent.

"You have got to take allegations seriously, you have got to take denials seriously", he said.

Shah said Thursday that Hicks later "recused" herself from some aspects of the matter, but it was unclear from what. Sanders said Porter would stay on for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition. Holderness has a blackened right eye and a swollen cheekbone. The two men had lunch at the White House in recent weeks, before the Porter scandal erupted.

"The President wants to see legal immigration reforms". Kelly himself faced criticism for initially defending his aide - only to later shift course after the publication of photos showing one of Porter's ex-wives with a black eye. She said he returned the next day and broke glass in the door with his fist.

Porter's ex-wives, Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby, both went public in The Daily Mail with accounts of what they branded as physically and emotionally abusive behavior, reported the New York Times.

"He said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent", Trump added. "Therefore, they are best evaluated through the background check process", he said.

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