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The White House is embroiled in an explosive domestic scandal, with critics demanding to know how a top aide accused of domestic abuse could work there for a year despite failing to qualify for a security clearance.

White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned this week after reports emerged that both his ex-wives had accused him of physically and emotionally abusive behavior.

Porter was operating with an interim security clearance at the time of his resignation Wednesday.

Shah held his first press briefing following the resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter over domestic abuse allegations, United States media reported.

The White House's public posture Thursday stood in stark contrast to the defensive approach it took when the accusations against Porter by his two ex-wives were first published Tuesday.

Shah said the original support for Porter from the White House was based on incomplete information.

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Trump was reportedly "surprised" and "disheartened" to hear the news.

"If you had agreed to any of our previous requests for information on these matters, the White House would have been required to answer key questions about why Mr". Willoughby and Holderness said they gave interviews only after being contacted earlier this week by reporters for the Daily Mail and the Intercept asking about a blog post Willoughby wrote in April that described spousal abuse but did not name Porter.

In her CNN interview, Willoughby explained that she had stood by her piece since it was published a year ago, including in the days leading up to the scandal.

On Thursday, the deputy press secretary pushed back against those charges, saying Kelly was not "fully aware" of the allegations against Porter until the graphic photos surfaced on Wednesday.

"There was no coordination of this", Willoughby told NBC's "Today" show.

On Friday morning, Willoughby told CNN that Porter himself asked her to downplay his alleged abuse. The first impulse from the West Wing was to defend Porter at all costs, an effort which included reaching out to the office of Senator Orrin Hatch-who recently told Donald Trump he could be a better president than Abraham Lincoln-where Porter served as chief of staff before joining the Trump administration. The White House seemed to believe it could weather this storm too, as long as this was a rather anonymous staffer and it was a he-said-she-said (or, more aptly, a he-said-they-said).

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Willoughby told the "Today" show Friday that she filed a temporary protective order against Porter after he punched in a door at their home while they were separated, because she "really didn't know what else he was capable of".

The revelations have rocked the White House, forcing questions about whether chief of staff John Kelly knew about the allegations.

"What that clearly says to me is that the president is one of those people who either automatically disbelieves women and believes men, or arguably even worse, believes the woman who makes the allegations but thinks that should not be a barrier to her abuser's success", said Martin. She also said his departure from the White House was not imminent.

Asked what she might tell her ex-husband now, Willoughby said she hopes that "in the wake of losing his reputation and career and the things he values most that he will be able to go inside and find the things that actually do matter most about him".

Host Savannah Guthrie then asked if she had been told in advance about the Federal Bureau of Investigation interview or if her ex had tried to coach her in any way. Shah added that Kelly retained the president's confidence. He also said Porter had been "terminated", before later clarifying that he had resigned.

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