White House Regrets Its Handling of Rob Porter Case: ‘We All Could Have Done Better’

Mr. Shah called the accusations against him “upsetting,” and said that Mr. Kelly had not been made “fully aware” of them until this week. But two people close to the White House said that Mr. Kelly and Joe Hagin, the deputy chief of staff for operations, as well as Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, had known of the issues since late fall.

It was unclear whether they knew the extent of the women’s allegations, though one former senior American official said White House officials had been aware in August that the issue was preventing Mr. Porter from obtaining the security clearance he was seeking.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity about a delicate topic that they were not authorized to discuss.

Jennifer Willoughby, one of Mr. Porter’s former wives, said in an interview that in September, Mr. Porter had told her that White House officials had informed him his security clearance “had not gone through.”

Ms. Willoughby, who said Mr. Porter abused her during their marriage, said “someone had told him that there was a violent allegation and that was what was holding it up.”

Correction: February 8, 2018

A caption that appeared with a photograph with an earlier version of this article misidentified the man with John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff. He was Thomas P. Bossert, the president’s homeland security adviser, not Rob Porter, the staff secretary who resigned Wednesday.

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