Trump Talks of Bringing Back Rob Porter, Aide Accused of Spousal Abuse


Ms. Holderness, who split with Mr. Porter in 2008, and his second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, have both been vocal about their allegations about their ex-husband. Mr. Porter has denied the allegations, and said the photograph did not tell the full story of either marriage. Mr. Trump has told some advisers that the news media scrutiny of Mr. Porter was so excessive that it left him unable to defend himself.

Mr. Trump has told people that he believes that Mr. Porter’s departure was botched, primarily but not exclusively by his chief of staff, John F. Kelly. White House officials initially said at the time that Mr. Porter had decided on his own to resign, and some said Mr. Kelly had asked Mr. Porter to stay on. But they later offered a different account — that Mr. Kelly had told Mr. Porter to resign soon after learning of the allegations, though there were multiple accounts of how Mr. Kelly had been aware of some of the allegations for months.

Despite his responsibilities, Mr. Porter did not have a five-year security clearance, only an interim one, during his time at the White House. His interim clearance was never revoked after a full F.B.I. investigation, a fact some White House officials noted when he was dismissed as an indication that his case was more nuanced and complex than news media accounts had suggested.

But his case led to a sweeping change in how the White House handles interim security clearances, with a new process that some White House officials have privately said is being used as a weapon against specific staff members, with partial information being dribbled out to the press in an inflammatory way.

One of those people, some in the White House believe, was Mr. Trump’s aide and “body man,” John McEntee, who was hustled out of the White House so quickly two weeks ago that he did not have time to collect his jacket. Mr. McEntee had a gambling habit that could have led to financial issues, White House officials have said, but early news accounts painted him as under criminal investigation, reports that were later contradicted.

Mr. Trump has told advisers that Mr. McEntee is a “good kid” who was dealt with unfairly and that he would like to bring him back.

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