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His West Wing rattled, Trump casts doubt on aide's exit

12 February 2018

Sorensen is the second White House official to resign over domestic abuse allegations in days-with staff secretary Rob Porter resigning Wednesday after being accused of physically abusing two of his ex wives.

But his suggestion in private that he would be willing to step down if the president wanted him to reflected the degree to which the scandal surrounding Porter has engulfed the White House, touching off a bitter round of recriminations that could result in a shake-up at the highest levels.

White House staff probably could have tried to sell the version of events Kelly told them to - it hinges upon how you define "credible", after all, and is only refuted by anonymously sourced reporting at this point - but the staff are apparently unwilling to go to bat for him and put their own necks on the chopping block. "He said, 'Tell Jake I have full faith in Chief of Staff John Kelly and that I am not actively searching for replacements.' He said, 'I saw that all over the news today - I have faith in him, ' and he does".

Shah refused to confirm in detail when and how Kelly in particular became aware of the claims, or Hicks's role in shaping the White House response.

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The FBI informed the White House of these charges, which held up Mr Porter's application for a permanent security clearance. Reuters has not independently confirmed the allegations against Porter, or against Trump.

Two West Wing advisers and a third person painted a picture of a White House staff rived and confused, with fingers pointed in all directions and the president privately expressing dissatisfaction with Kelly.

David Sorensen, a speechwriter for President Trump, reigned when he learnt that the Washington Post was working on a story detailing accusations of physical and emotional abuse by his ex-wife.

By some accounts, White House counsel Don McGahn had been apprised of some accusations about Porter at least four times, including as early as January 2017.

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Porter's departure, along with Kelly under fire, could deprive the West Wing of some of its steadier hands and anxious some staffers that the sense of order that appeared to have been installed in recent months could evaporate. "He said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent", Trump said. Most West Wing offices remained dark.

Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley refuted the reports Friday, saying General Kelly has not offered his resignation to President Trump. The president's classic response to the allegations was to ask, how does anyone know the bruises weren't there before?

The emerging timeline illustrates the degree to which Porter, a clean-cut and ambitious former Rhodes scholar and Harvard Law School-educated lawyer, concealed troublesome episodes from his past that would normally be considered disqualifying for a senior White House aide. "He has said this in the past about incidents that relate to him as well".

The president has also supported others who have faced abuse allegations, including Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate.

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The US administration's reluctance to give credence to the alleged victims of gender violence puts it at odds with the tenets of the #metoo movement now sweeping through Western societies.

His West Wing rattled, Trump casts doubt on aide's exit