Thursday, August 16News That Matters

WATCH: Trump ignores repeated questions about domestic abuse victims

At the end of a lengthy meeting with lawmakers about trade at the White House on Tuesday, President Trump ignored reporters who tried to ask him about whether he believes the two ex-wives of a former top White House aide who have both accused him of abuse.

“Do you believe Rob Porter’s ex-wives? Do you believe Rob Porter’s ex-wives, Mr. President?” a reporter asked him. “Do you Rob Porter’s ex-wives, Mr. President?”

Instead of answering, Trump stood to shake the hand of Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), who could be heard congratulating the president on his “perfect tone.”

In the week since media reports first surfaced of the abuse allegations against Porter, a former top secretary who was allowed to work in sensitive White House role even though senior officials knew about his problems, Trump has not said a word about his alleged victims or spoken out against domestic abuse. Instead, the president — who denies each of the 14 sexual assault allegations made against him — has praised Porter and lamented that “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”

One of Porter’s wives provided photographic evidence of the abuse she claims Porter inflicted upon her. But during a news briefing on Monday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say if Trump even believes either of the women.

Over the past week, White House officials have repeatedly used the talking point that they didn’t act on the abuse allegations against Porter more quickly because his background check process was still ongoing. But during congressional testimony on Tuesday, Trump’s hand-picked FBI director, Christopher Wray, revealed that the White House has been blatantly lying.

“What I can tell you is that the FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March, and then a completed background investigation in late July,” Wray said. “Soon thereafter we received requests for follow-up inquiry, and we did the follow-up and provided that information in November, and then we administratively closed the file in January, and then earlier this month we received some additional information and we passed that on as well.”

An unnamed White House official told Axios that “Wray’s FBI timeline makes one thing clear: the Kelly coverup is unraveling right before our eyes.”


UPDATE (3:45 p.m.): At the conclusion of a small business event in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, White House staffer Ivanka Trump also ignored questions about the administration’s handling of the Porter scandal.