Allegations of domestic abuse levied against top White House staffer Rob Porter by his ex-wives were known among senior aides to President Donald Trump for months, even as his stock in the West Wing continued to rise, multiple sources told CNN on Wednesday.
While White House senior staff, including Chief of Staff John Kelly, initially defended Porter, the latest report from the DailyMail.com included a photo of one ex-wife's bruised face. He said the photos were taken almost 15 years ago, and that the "reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described".
"These outrageous allegations are simply false", Porter said.
Porter, who is reportedly dating White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, said he's always put his duty to his country first and "treated others with respect".
Once a fixture at the highest level of USA power, Porter saw his career swiftly unravel after his first wife, Colbie Holderness accused him of domestic violence, including punching her in the eye while on an Italian vacation in 2005.
His second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, has also coming forward with claims of abuse.
Porter allegedly pulled her naked out of the shower not long after their first anniversary, and the Mail also published a 2010 police complaint detailing an incident in which Porter allegedly punched a glass door at their home. But he will take his place in that White House tomorrow beside John Kelly, working for a president whose first wife once accused him of rape, working for a president who is a self-confessed sexual assaulter who was caught on video bragging about his preferred methods of sexual assault.
Porter began traveling more frequently in Trump's entourage, including during last month's trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Why would Hatch trust the White House to apprise him of all the reasons it needed a defense of its staff secretary?
He helped craft Mr Trump's well-received State of the Union address and was credited internally for helping bridge divides in a White House riven by rivalries and for helping more effectively roll out new policy.
The White House declined to comment on Wednesday when asked about Kelly's knowledge of the allegations against Porter. Domestic violence in any form is abhorrent. Porter adds that he has been transparent and truthful, but will leave the White House after a transition period.
Porter denied the allegations but resigned on Wednesday. "He is a friend, a confidant and a trusted professional".
"I encouraged him to keep a stiff upper lip and work out his problems", Hatch told reporters, according to CBS News. "I don't know if that was conscious or not". Hatch had described the remarks as "vile" smears and vouched for Porter's character.
Holderness shared photos Porter took of her with CNN.
"The President and chief of staff have had full confidence and trust in his abilities and his performance", Sanders said Wednesday. "I wanted to reach out and hear your story if you are willing to share - as well as how you broke out of it with him and mostly, how you recovered".
The White House denied suggestions that it ignored security concerns flagged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.