Porter was up for promotion despite abuse allegations

Rob Porter was involved in serious discussions to be promoted when he abruptly resigned from the White House last wee...

Posted: Feb 13, 2018 7:18 PM
Updated: Feb 13, 2018 7:18 PM

Rob Porter was involved in serious discussions to be promoted when he abruptly resigned from the White House last week amid allegations that he abused his two ex-wives, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

His anticipated elevation further highlights how top White House officials were willing to overlook indications from the FBI that there were potential abuse allegations in his background in exchange for professional competence in a tumultuous West Wing.

Porter had been actively lobbying to take on new policy portfolios outside the traditional scope of the staff secretary, one person familiar with the matter said, which included speechwriting duties and a role in planning policy rollouts. Neither of those tasks is traditionally carried out by the staff secretary.

One of the areas Porter was set to delve further into was trade policy, according to the person. Porter was a regular attendee at a weekly trade meeting among top-level administration officials.

He was also being considered for the deputy chief of staff position, another source familiar with the situation said. CNN reported Friday that Jim Carroll, who served as the deputy chief of staff for less than three months, was stepping down to helm the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Several White House officials, including chief of staff John Kelly, were receptive to promoting Porter. Kelly had told associates that Porter was one of the few competent professionals on his staff and wanted to ensure that he was being used to his full potential. CNN has reported that Kelly was aware for months of the potential that Porter's ex-wives could present damaging information on him.

Kelly "definitely wanted to expand his role," a source familiar tells CNN.

Senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump also viewed Porter as a professional, competent staffer and worked to elevate his standing inside the West Wing, two sources familiar with the situation said.

Aides have stressed in recent days that they were gravely misled by Porter over the allegations.

"That's what the President did up until the time that it became obvious, when the photographs came out, that the person was not being honest with the President," Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. "After that happened, we dismissed that person immediately."

But FBI Director Christopher Wray contradicted days of shifting explanations from the administration Tuesday when he said the bureau gave the White House a partial report on problems in Porter's background last March. That is months earlier than the White House has admitted becoming aware of the problems in Porter's past.

"The FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March and then a completed background investigation in late July," Wray said as he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. "Soon thereafter, we received requests for follow up inquiry and we did the follow up and provided that information in November and then we administratively closed the file in January. And then, earlier this month, we received some additional information and we passed that on as well."

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah told reporters Thursday that Porter's background investigation was ongoing.

"He was operating on an interim security clearance," Shah said. "His clearance was never denied, and he resigned."

As the fallout from the Porter scandal has stretched into a new week at the White House, a frustrated President Donald Trump has spent his days phoning allies and associates for advice on how to handle negative coverage, sources familiar with the conversations say. His two main questions regarding the scandal: When does it end? What do we do?

Trump has expressed concerns that dismissing members of his staff could result in a stalled agenda just as his approval ratings have enjoyed an uptick, a person familiar with the conversations said. He is particularly concerned with advancing his immigration proposals, a policy objective that has been helmed by Kelly.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
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