A Democratic senator said Thursday that White House chief of staff John Kelly should be held accountable if he knew about domestic abuse allegations against a White House staffer.
Senior aides to President Donald Trump knew for months about allegations of domestic abuse levied against top White House staffer Rob 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. The White House declined to comment on Wednesday when asked about Kelly's knowledge of the allegations against Porter.
"If John Kelly is covering this up, he needs to be held accountable," Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, told CNN's "New Day," adding, "He better have a really good reason. Otherwise, he's gone, too." The chief of staff position is appointed, not confirmed by the Senate, so removing him would be up to Trump.
By early fall, it was widely known among Trump's top aides -- including 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.
Instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter's standing.
"I have no use for anybody who beats their spouse, none whatsoever," Tester added. "And I will tell you, the guy should have been shipped out the door months ago and as soon as they found out about it. And if the White House knew about it months ago, shame on them."
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- John Kelly renews defense in wake of Rob Porter abuse scandal
- Dem senator: Family separation is 'official kidnapping and child abuse'
- Sources: Porter fallout won't cost Kelly his job -- for now
- Kelly tells aides he secured Porter's resignation, sources say
- Dem. senator slams 'crazy Democrats'
- Conway on Porter's alleged abuse: 'I have no reason not to believe these women'