Kelly makes changes to White House security clearance process after abuse allegations against top aide

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, under pressure over his handling of allegations of domestic abuse against a top aide, has approved an overhaul of how the White House manages security-clearance investigations, acknowledging missteps but putting the onus on the FBI and the Justice Department to now hand-deliver updates and provide more information.

The White House has struggled over the past week to explain how the security clearance process worked in Porter’s case and when top officials were informed about the allegations against him, offering shifting explanations of what occurred.

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Explaining Trump's Rob Porter problem in three simple ways

In a presidency where headline-grabbing news stories have the life expectancy of mayflies, the furore surrounding former White House aide Rob Porter has had notable resiliency.

Left out of Mr Trump's statement was any consideration for Porter's ex-wives or victims of domestic violence in general. It wasn't until Wednesday, eight days after the original allegations surfaced, that the president directly condemned such violence.

CBS News -
Rob Porter situation is a "mess" that keeps getting worse, White House officials say

Another criticized senior colleagues, saying "they're not telling us the truth" about Porter, adding that it has become evident that multiple White House officials knew for some time about the allegations of abuse.

Gowdy says he wants to understand how someone with credible allegations of domestic violence in his past could hold one of the top jobs in the White House for more than a year.

DW -
Donald Trump: 'I'm totally opposed to domestic violence'

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday in remarks made to journalists at the White House voiced his total opposition to domestic abuse.

The president's decision to directly address the subject of domestic assault comes as a groundswell of sexual violence accusations have forced high-ranking men across a range of industries — from politics to media — to step down from their positions.

Global News -
Donald Trump says he’s ‘totally opposed’ to domestic violence after Rob Porter scandal

“I am totally opposed to domestic violence and everybody here knows that,” the president said, more than a week after the allegations against Rob Porter first became public.

U.S. President Donald Trump broke his silence Wednesday after defending a former aide who was accused of domestic abuse by two ex-wives. “I am totally opposed to domestic violence and everybody here knows that,” the president said, more than a week after the allegations against Rob Porter first became public.

NBC News -
What is the White House personnel security office?

The White House's current explanation for why allegations against top aide Rob Porter failed to have an impact for roughly a year pins the blame on an obscure internal office of personnel security — but more than a day after they first pointed to it, it remains far from clear that office serves the function that the Trump administrations said it does.

Former White House officials paint a different picture of the security office, saying the career professionals who staff it perform largely administrative functions, lacking the authority to keep information from senior administration officials or to make the final determination on whether or not personnel are granted permanent security clearance.

The Guardian -
Trump says he is 'totally opposed to domestic violence' despite remarks

Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he was “totally opposed” to domestic violence after days of questions following his remarks regretting the resignation of a White House aide accused of such behavior.

On Wednesday Trump said: “I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind everyone knows that and it almost wouldn’t even have to be said.” A photograph of one of his ex-wives, Colbie Holderness, emerged last week showing her with a badly bruised eye.

CBS News -
Trump: "I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind"

President Trump gave his first personal and public condemnation of domestic violence Wednesday since allegations of spousal abuse were levied last week against former White House aide Rob Porter.

The president has been criticized for failing to mention the ex-wives of Porter who have alleged domestic violence, and for failing — up to this point — to speak out publicly about domestic violence generally.

CBS News -
White House counsel was in position to respond earlier to Rob Porter allegations but did not

White House Counsel Don McGahn was in position to learn more and respond more forcefully about Porter and his ex-wives' abuse allegations, but there is scant evidence he did.

Although White House chief of staff John Kelly is bearing the brunt of the criticism over the White House's handling of former staff secretary Rob Porter, as new divisions and a sense of mistrust develop in the White House, there is another significant figure in the White House who knew more about the Porter situation, and knew earlier than most.

CBS News -
Why former W.H. aide Rob Porter's interim security clearance is "surprising"

A former White House homeland security adviser says "it is not possible" that President Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, or his deputy chief of staff wouldn't have known about former White House staff secretary Rob Porter's security clearance issues. "There's this career staff in the White House that determines these security clearances.

Townsend, who spent 13 years working in the Justice Department, said it isn't clear whether Porter had access to top secrets with his interim security clearance.

NBC News -
Kelly is taking the heat, but what was McGahn's role in Porter scandal?

The White House security clearance process is under scrutiny amid conflicting accounts from the FBI and the White House over who knew about domestic abuse allegations against former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter — and experts say White House Counsel Don McGahn’s role deserves further examination.

Legal experts and former officials said that under the typical process, McGahn would have been alerted early in the process about the problems with Porter — which unleashed a scandal that has put White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on the defense.

Global News -
U.S. Congress investigating White House over Rob Porter background checks

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to know how former presidential aide Rob Porter was allowed to work at the White House under an interim security clearance — despite allegations of spousal abuse.

Chief of Staff John Kelly accused of promoting Rob Porter while knowing of domestic abuse allegations. Privately, officials acknowledge that the public timeline offered last week — that the administration first learned of the ex-wives’ charges against Porter last Tuesday — was flawed at best.

“Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets...” ― Napoléon Bonaparte