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    Senior White House official to resign after ex-wives’ allegations of abuse

    A senior White House official said Wednesday that he would resign after his two ex-wives accused him of physical and emotional abuse, with one presenting pictures of her blackened eye.
    The official, Rob Porter, served as the staff secretary, a title that belies the role’s importance in any White House — but especially in President Trump’s. Porter functioned as Chief of Staff John F. Kelly’s top enforcer in their shared mission to instill discipline and order in what had become an extraordinarily chaotic West Wing. He was the gatekeeper to the Oval Office, determining which articles and policy proposals reached the president’s hands and screening the briefing materials that his visitors shared with him.
    Aides had been aware generally of accusations against Porter since late last year, White House advisers said, but learned of the specifics late Tuesday when approached by a reporter from the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, which first detailed many of the allegations. Porter’s ex-wives said they informed the FBI in January 2017 of their allegations against him while they were being interviewed by agents as part of Porter’s security clearance review. It was unclear when or whether the FBI informed the White House. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.
    Porter said on Tuesday that he would resign, after the allegations were first published, people close to him say, even as he told White House officials he had never physically abused women. But he was talked out of it by Kelly and others, according to these people, with Kelly saying he believed Porter’s denials and saw him as a valuable ally in the White House. Kelly continued to press him to stay in his job Wednesday, saying he could weather the storm, but Porter decided the controversy had become too much after the photos of his ex-wife’s blackened eye appeared Wednesday morning.
    In interviews with The Washington Post and other media outlets, Porter’s ex-wives described him as having a dark side and, at times, a violent streak that White House aides say they did not see.
    Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, said in an interview with The Post that he was continually abusive during their marriage. She alleged he punched her in the face during a trip to Florence in 2005 and provided photos showing her with a black eye.
    “He threw me down and punched me in the face,” she said. Holderness said she had insisted that he take pictures of her bruised eye after the assault and he agreed. “He was trying to make it up to me, and I said I wanted evidence if this should happen again.”
    The Washington Post.

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