A congressman and former White House staffer under President Bill Clinton slammed Thursday the White House’s decision to allow a staffer accused of domestic abuse to remain in his role.
“To ignore this and to allow this person to continue in that position seeing our country’s greatest secrets is incredibly irresponsible,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-New York, said in an interview with CNN’s John Berman.
Senior aides to President Donald Trump knew for months about allegations of domestic abuse levied against Porter by his ex-wives, even as Porter’s stock in the West Wing continued to rise, multiple sources told CNN on Wednesday. Porter denied the allegations but resigned on Wednesday.
By early fall, it was widely known among Trump’s top aides – including chief of staff John Kelly – both that Porter was facing troubles in obtaining a security clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. No action was taken to remove him from the staff.
The White House declined to comment on Wednesday when asked about Kelly’s knowledge of the allegations against Porter.
Maloney, who served as staff secretary and deputy staff secretary under Clinton, argued that having Porter serve as staff secretary without a national security clearance is “outrageous” and subjected him to potential blackmail.
“John Kelly owns that, and has some very tough questions to answer,” Maloney told CNN. “Why you would allow somebody to be in the position who can be so easily blackmailed? It is crazy.”
The New York congressman sent a letter Wednesday to House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy asking the committee to open a formal inquiry into the matter.
This story has been updated.