Trump energy advisor quits over security clearance

In a brief statement to reporters at the White House, Trump said: "I'm totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind".

"Everybody knows" his position, Trump said, but "now you hear it".

There has been a lot of back-and-forth concerning who knew what about the allegations and when they knew it, but to me the bigger question is, when was someone going to tell the boss?

White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter resigned last week amid claims of abuse by two former wives and an ex-girlfriend, followed by White House speechwriter David Sorensen.

The Republican chairman of the House's main investigative committee ramped up pressure on White House chief of staff John Kelly as he launched a probe into the administration's handling of domestic abuse allegations against a former top presidential aide.

The letter also claims, "Credible recent reports indicate that 30-40 White House staff now have full access to highly sensitive classified information with only interim security clearances".

Lawmakers are questioning how much the White House knew about the abuse allegations before they came to light.

The now-former staffer worked in the White House for a year despite not qualifying for permanent security clearance, likely due to the reports by his ex-wives. And, rather than circling the wagons after the F.B.I. director spoke, a number of White House officials appear to have blabbed to reporters about what a mess Kelly has made of things.

"I think it's fair to say that we all could have done better over the last few hours or last few days in dealing with this situation", said White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah. Two of Porter's ex-wives accused him of physical abuse, and told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents that he could be susceptible to blackmail.

Kelly is "a big fat liar", one anonymous staffer told The Washington Post.

If there are problems with the applicant, the personnel office alerts the White House counsel's office, who would in turn communicate with the White House chief of staff.

His resignation comes as Team Trump is under the microscope for keeping about three dozen aides on the payroll with only temporary security clearances - including accused wife-beater Rob Porter before he was forced to step down.

This week the White House press secretary dodged questions as to why the president would not publicly condemn domestic violence himself.

Vice President Mike Pence told the Axios media outlet that the White House could have handled the Porter case better but that he has great respect for Mr Kelly.

In a recent editorial, the New York Times reminded us that Trump has yet to name a White House adviser on violence against women.

Vanessa Coleman

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