Trump not looking to replace Kelly, aides say

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'In this case, you have contemporaneous police reports, you have women speaking to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under threat of perjury ... you have photographs, and when you look at all of that pulled together, Rob Porter did the right thing by resigning, ' Conway said of the evidence of the abuse.

Conway told CNN she was "horrified" by the allegations, adding, "I have no reason not to believe these women".

The president followed those comments up with a tweet that said "lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation", adding that people "falsely accused" could lose their careers. She also derisively claimed Trump's multiple sexual assault accusers had their due process when they were "trotted out" during the 2016 election.

White House legislative director Marc Short denied that Trump personally waived Porter's interim security clearance, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation made further checks on his background, to allow him to handle the highly classified documents that flow to the president's desk. While I may understand President Trump and [Chief of Staff] Gen. [John] Kelly's incredulity at such a counter-image of their golden boy, I do not condone their choice to support him. "I think he's very disturbed by it, and I think he's very disappointed".

Trump had also stressed to reporters that Porter denies the allegations from his two former wives that he was physically and emotionally abusive.

"That the work Rob was doing in the White House was of higher value than our mental, emotional or physical well-being", she wrote.

"Look, he denies it", Trump said in November when he broke his silence on the matter.

Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, had defended Porter on Tuesday as "a man of true integrity and honor" and "a friend, confidante and trusted professional". No action was taken to remove him from the staff, and instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter's standing.

The White House response serves as a high-profile illustration of the obstacles many women face in speaking out about their abuse.

Kelly's critics say he may have been aware of the allegations, yet continued to defend Porter.

One of those aides is Rob Porter, who resigned this week after his two former wives came forward and accused him of abusing them.

'If he's lied about it and lied to the President of the United States and lied to the American people, he has to resign.

"The president didn't waive security clearances", Short told NBC's "Meet the Press". "It's obviously a very tough time for him".

'He wanted me to reemphasize to everyone ... that he has full confidence in current chief of staff General John Kelly and that he's not actively searching for replacements, ' Conway said.

Mick Mulvaney, who heads the Office of Management and Budget, spoke to Fox News and described speculation about Kelly's position as much ado about nothing.

Porter's resignation was announced Wednesday, just hours after a photograph was published of Holderness with a black eye, allegedly inflicted by Porter.



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