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After Porter scandal, Kelly faults White House handling but says no reason to quit

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White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Friday that he had “absolutely nothing to even consider resigning” over, after weeks of speculation about his job security stemming from questions about how he had handled security clearances for dozens of top staffers.

The issue came to the fore after allegations of domestic abuse against now-resigned staff secretary Rob Porter, with lawmakers and political experts wondering why he was allowed to handle top-secret information regularly with an interim security clearance.

Fielding questions from a small group of reporters, Kelly spoke about the White House’s response to the initial Porter news.

“We didn’t cover ourselves in glory in terms of how we handled that on Wednesday morning,” Kelly said, referring to the day after the Daily Mail story about Porter broke. Kelly said he first learned of allegations against Porter the day before, on Tuesday February 6th.

Kelly said Porter denied the allegations, which the chief of staff initially believed to be about “some level of emotional abuse” in relation to a “messy divorce.”

The allegations, however, were also of physical abuse — and eventually pictures were published to support claims from Porter’s two ex-wives.

“(Porter) resigned,” Kelly said, walking reporters through his timeline. “I put out a statement of support for him, and an hour later find out now there’s a second report still not in the press, still no pictures. Just an inquiry…He had already resigned. I talked to Rob again to make sure he knew he had resigned.”

The claims were a “shock” to staff at the White House who knew Porter as “the ultimate gentleman,” Kelly said.

“He presented himself and conducted himself as the ultimate gentleman,” Kelly said. “I never saw him mad or abusive in any way.”

As for the overall issue of security clearances, Kelly said he became aware of the large number of staffers working under interim security clearances last September. He was named chief of staff in late July.

The number of staffers working with interim clearances was “more people than I was comfortable with,” Kelly said Friday. He said he asked for help from the FBI about the process with the aim of getting clearance issues resolved.

The questions about the security clearance process escalated in the weeks following Porter’s resignation, culminating in Kelly issuing new guidance that those staffers still working on interim “top secret/sensitive compartmented information” clearances would be downgraded to “secret.”

Among the aides impacted by those new rules, which went into effect last week, was Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, who saw his clearance downgraded.

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Brexit outrage: Boris urged to hit back after Baroness Hoey exposes EU punishment plans

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BREXITEER outrage has erupted after Baroness Kate Hoey exposed attempts by the Republic of Ireland to worsen the ongoing rift between the EU and the UK.

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Trump 2017 inaugural committee chairman to be released on bail pending trial

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EU told hated Brexit deal 'needs major surgery' after Lord Frost’s calls to renegotiate

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THE EU has been accused of using the Northern Ireland Protocol to “control the UK”, with a journalist saying the Brexit agreement “needs major surgery”.

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