Rob Porter situation is a "mess" that keeps getting worse, White House officials say

WASHINGTON -- White House officials tell CBS News that the Rob Porter situation is a "mess" that keeps getting worse. It's creating new divisions among staff members. 

It took a full week after the Porter story became public for President Trump to weigh in on domestic violence

"I'm totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind," Mr. Trump said. "Everyone knows that, and it almost wouldn't even have to be said." 

But it's unclear whether that brief statement will do much to quell the turmoil generated by the White House's handling of allegations that Porter abused his two ex-wives

One senior official told CBS News the West Wing staff is "coming apart at the seams." Another criticized senior colleagues, saying "they're not telling us the truth" about Porter, adding that it has become evident that multiple White House officials knew for some time about the allegations of abuse. 

Some at the White House have blamed Chief of Staff John Kelly, adding that his job security remains uncertain. 

Vice President Pence, however, disagreed on Wednesday. 

"John Kelly has done a remarkable job as chief of staff for president of the U.S. and I look forward to continuing to work with him," Pence said. 

Kelly's defenders, meanwhile, argue he is taking the fall for White House counsel Don McGahn, who they argue was closer to the Porter investigation and should have responded more forcefully. 

Republican Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, announced Wednesday that he's opening an investigation into White House clearance procedures with a focus on Porter, and he intends to get to the bottom of it. 

"Don McGahn would be somebody that I would want to talk to. I would want to find out what he knew, when he knew, what he did with that information," Gowdy said. "I hate to say I don't give a damn about the politics of it, but I really don't."

Gowdy also says he wants to understand how someone with credible allegations of domestic violence in his past could hold one of the top jobs in the White House for more than a year. 

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.