Porter said photos from 2005 of his first wife, Colbie Holderness, with an apparent black eye had a "reality behind them [that] is nowhere close to what is being described".
But as CNN reported Thursday, it was widely known by early fall of a year ago among top aides - Kelly included - that Porter was facing trouble obtaining security clearance and that he had allegedly abused his ex-wives.
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Donald Trump's White House on Thursday (Friday in Manila) admitted it could have done a better job handling battery allegations against a top staffer, amid a deluge of questions about ethical lapses at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Shah said the original support for Porter from the White House was based on incomplete information.
"I want you to know that we all take matters of domestic violence very seriously". "The truth must be determined, and that was what was going on with Rob Porter".
Kelly went on to infuriate immigration advocates and Democratic lawmakers on February 6 when he said some young immigrants eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program had failed to apply for the legal protections because they were too afraid - or "too lazy to get off their asses".
In a letter released on Thursday, February 8, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, slammed Republicans for stonewalling his efforts to obtain information about the security clearance process at the White House.
The episode has thrust Trump's senior-most aides, many of whom have already been embroiled in controversy related to special counsel Robert Mueller III's Russian Federation investigation, into yet another crisis. Nor did he act in September when he learned that the domestic violence claims were delaying Porter's security clearance, or in November when Porter's former girlfriend contacted him about the allegations, according to these people. White House spokesman Raj Shah admitted Thursday that the administration "could have done better" in responding to the accusations about Porter's past behavior.
White House Counsel Don McGahn was also aware of the allegations but did not act. Porter was in the building for a short period to clean out his desk, Shah said.
For there to be "multiple White House aides" who won't clear the bar sounds alarming.
Porter resigned Wednesday amid accusations from two ex-wives of physical abuse, with one telling news outlets of incidents years ago in which Porter punched her in the face and choked her. The FBI also asked Porter to explain Holderness' black eye, according to a person familiar with the conversation.
Willoughby said in her marriage, the abuse was verbal and emotional. Law enforcement officials said the FBI does not make any security clearance determinations or recommendations, but rather provides a report at the end of an investigation to the hiring agency, which makes the decision. "His clearance was never denied, and he resigned", Shah added.