Second WH official resigns over domestic abuse allegations

David Sorensen, a member of the Trump administration's speechwriting team, has resigned after being accused of domest...

Posted: Feb 11, 2018 4:40 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2018 4:40 PM

David Sorensen, a member of the Trump administration's speechwriting team, has resigned after being accused of domestic abuse, a White House official says.

He is the second administration official to resign this week over domestic abuse allegations, after top White House staffer Rob Porter resigned on Wednesday.

According to a White House official, Sorensen's job with the Council on Environmental Quality did not require a security clearance, but his background check was ongoing.

The Washington Post first reported Sorensen's resignation Friday evening, and reported that his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett, alleged that "he ran a car over her foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and grasped her menacingly by her hair while they were alone on their boat in remote waters off Maine's coast, an incident she said left her fearing for her life."

The Washington Post reported that it had been working on a story regarding the allegations made by Corbett prior to Sorensen's resignation.

Corbett released a statement on Medium saying she stands by her allegations, saying her story is "messy, humiliating and tragic, but it's my truth."

Sorensen denied the allegations in a lengthy statement released Friday night to CNN and other media.

"I have never committed violence of any kind against any woman in my entire life," Sorensen wrote in the statement.

"In fact, I was the victim of repeated physical violence during our marriage, not her," he said, adding that he had consulted with an attorney and was "considering legal options to address her defamation."

Sorensen alleged the incidents of what he called Corbett's domestic violence and abusive behavior "are too many to recall," but included several occasions when she punched him. He alleged she hit him with a flurry of punches on three occasions in a single day because he had asked if she would mind if he went to the gym before breakfast. He also alleged she attempted to block the driveway to prevent him from driving away after she had punched him in the face repeatedly after a fight, forcing him to pull the car forward over the lawn, and that she ran after the car and injured herself in the process. He showed photos of what he alleged was evidence of her violence against him, including one showing redness and a cut behind the left eye from what he said was a punch to the face in 2015 and another showing a scrape on left cheek from what he said was a punch to the face in July 2016.

Corbett told the Post in response to Sorensen's allegations that her violence didn't not go beyond slapping him, adding that several of the incidents involved alcohol and that she slapped him multiple times after he called her a vulgar term.

"Everything I told you is 100 percent true and that is why he had to resign today," she told the paper.

CNN was unable to reach Corbett for comment.

Sorensen told the Post in a text message that he resigned because he "didn't want the White House to have to deal with this distraction." He added, "It should be able to focus on continuing President Trump's historic accomplishments for the American People."

The White House said in a statement that it had been made aware of the allegations before The Washington Post reached out regarding the story.

According to the Post, Corbett told the FBI about her allegations during an October 2017 interview for a background check of Sorensen.

"Before we were contacted by the media, we learned last night that there were allegations," White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement Friday. "We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today."

The White House was already under scrutiny this week over its handling of Porter's departure. West Wing staff -- including chief of staff John Kelly -- initially defended Porter despite the allegations of abuse by both of his ex-wives. Photos of one of Porter's ex-wives with a black eye surfaced publicly, which eventually led to the White House expressing concern about the allegations. Porter has denied the allegations.

On Thursday evening, Kelly sent an email to White House staff about domestic violence, writing, "While we are all processing the shocking and troubling allegations made against a former White House staffer, I want you to know that we all take matters of domestic violence seriously. Domestic violence is abhorrent and has no place in our society."

Senior aides knew for months about the allegations levied against Porter, even as his stock in the West Wing continued to rise, multiple sources have told CNN. CNN previously reported that a source familiar with the matter said Porter's ex-girlfriend called White House counsel Donald McGahn in recent weeks to inform him of abuse allegations, and added that whatever McGahn did with the information clearly wasn't enough.

"I think it's fair to say we all could have done better dealing with this over the last few days," Shah told reporters Thursday at the daily White House briefing.

Trump said Friday that he was "surprised" by the claims against Porter, but he praised the former top staffer for his time working in the administration.

"I found out about it recently and I was surprised by it," Trump said. "We certainly wish him well. It's obviously a very tough time for him. He did a very good job while he was in the White House."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17741191
Hinds16891332
Harrison14279204
Rankin11239220
Jackson10917190
Lee9071145
Madison8599169
Jones6731118
Forrest6208124
Lauderdale6121192
Lowndes5544120
Lafayette520598
Lamar505865
Washington4933125
Bolivar4126109
Oktibbeha408382
Panola386981
Pontotoc377460
Monroe3686110
Warren3685103
Marshall357170
Union356864
Pearl River3495106
Neshoba3490154
Leflore3118109
Lincoln306788
Hancock294262
Sunflower291975
Tate280662
Alcorn273154
Pike270181
Itawamba269363
Scott260048
Yazoo256756
Prentiss253754
Coahoma249755
Copiah249749
Tippah249750
Simpson242872
Leake238167
Marion224273
Grenada223972
Covington221073
Adams215171
Wayne213734
Winston207671
George204739
Newton199946
Attala197064
Tishomingo194961
Chickasaw189344
Jasper181138
Holmes172068
Clay166837
Tallahatchie157235
Stone152525
Clarke148162
Calhoun141322
Smith130026
Yalobusha123335
Walthall114537
Greene113729
Noxubee113026
Montgomery112036
Carroll106822
Lawrence106817
Perry105131
Amite102126
Webster96824
Tunica89021
Claiborne88825
Jefferson Davis88430
Benton85823
Humphreys84724
Kemper80920
Quitman7139
Franklin70617
Choctaw63713
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45217
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 441170

Reported Deaths: 6660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson646811007
Mobile31620572
Madison28310217
Tuscaloosa21525275
Montgomery19954332
Shelby19335132
Baldwin17256189
Lee13205107
Morgan12639142
Etowah12107181
Calhoun11521206
Marshall10471123
Houston9009164
Limestone834981
Cullman8274124
Elmore8214110
DeKalb7894107
Lauderdale7871107
St. Clair7854130
Talladega6481112
Walker6036183
Jackson601545
Colbert549994
Blount547386
Autauga537662
Coffee462464
Dale410785
Franklin374950
Russell357515
Chilton345473
Covington339680
Escambia335444
Tallapoosa3149109
Dallas313296
Chambers304270
Clarke300236
Pike262531
Lawrence254155
Marion253761
Winston233642
Bibb222348
Geneva211547
Marengo209331
Pickens199631
Hale185244
Barbour182738
Fayette178629
Butler174460
Cherokee165731
Henry159925
Monroe152421
Randolph146436
Washington142327
Clay130546
Crenshaw124045
Macon122337
Cleburne121825
Lamar120222
Lowndes115536
Wilcox107922
Bullock103528
Perry100018
Conecuh97922
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63618
Choctaw51924
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