Washington (CNN)Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowksi suggested Monday at least someone in the White House must have known about abuse allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter.
Lewandowski on Porter abuse allegations: 'Somebody knew'
"We saw a problem in the White House a few months back where an individual who shouldn't have been there continued to have access to information. And that was a failure somewhere," Lewandowski told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day."
"Who are you talking about? Rob Porter? Do you think (White House chief of staff) John Kelly knew about that?" Cuomo asked Lewandowski.
"Rob Porter. I mean, clearly, that's exactly right. I don't know. I don't know," Lewandowski told Cuomo, adding later, "No, Chris, somebody knew. Somebody knew. And the question was what did they know and how soon did they know it?"
Porter's two ex-wives have accused Porter of years of verbal, emotional and physical domestic abuse -- all of which Porter denied. The FBI raised issues with Porter's background to the White House during background checks, but Porter was granted interim clearance to sensitive information by the White House anyway and resigned only when the abuse allegations were made public.
Kelly as recently as Friday has defended his conduct over the matter, saying he did not learn about the full extent of the accusations until the Daily Mail approached the White House for a comment on February 6. But a source inside the White House told CNN when the scandal broke that White House counsel Don McGahn, Kelly and deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin were also made aware of the domestic issues in November, the source said. The White House contends that the "full nature" of the allegations did not come out until later.
Lewandowski also responded to reports that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump could be leaving the administration soon.
"I think Jared and Ivanka will have the opportunity to stay inside the West Wing as long as they want to," Lewandowski said. Kushner, like Porter, was operating with interim security clearance until last month, when Kelly ordered White House staff with temporary clearance be stripped of their access to top secret information.