Former White House chief of staff and defense secretary Leon Panetta says Kelly may be "losing his edge" because of the stress of trying to work with Trump. It wasn't until last week that Kelly knew he had been twice married, this official said.
"The fact that Porter might have held a senior White House position without a security clearance is troubling and merits a full investigation", said Chris Lu, former Cabinet secretary under President Barack Obama and senior fellow at the University of Virginia Miller Center.
Kelly is also under heavy scrutiny after reports he knew of the allegations against Porter for months, since they were interfering with Porter obtaining a security clearance.
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. "The process hadn't been completed".
The Porter fallout has proved another uncomfortable situation for a White House that has been largely out of step with the #MeToo movement that has swept the country, putting a focus on sexual assault, harassment and workplace abuses. Porter said in a statement.
On Tuesday, however, Mr Kelly defended his colleague, calling Mr Porter "a man of true integrity and honour ..."
"He became fully aware of these allegations yesterday", Shah said of Kelly, later adding that he had "not seen images prior to the statement on Tuesday night".
Porter functioned as Kelly's top enforcer in their shared mission to instill discipline and order in what had become an extraordinarily chaotic West Wing. He was a key aide to Chief of Staff John Kelly in helping determine which articles and policy proposals were handed to Trump for his review.
According to recent media reports, Porter repeatedly struck and choked Holderness then verbally abused his second ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby. She alleged he punched her in the face during a trip to Florence in 2005 and provided photos showing her with a black eye.
CNN reported that following their 2003 marriage, Holderness said Porter quickly began to be abusive: "She said that Porter's repeated physically abusive behavior also included throwing her on the bed and forcefully pushing one of his limbs into her body in anger and choking her". She said he broke her window, causing his knuckles to bleed.
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