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White House Does Damage Control After Trump's Remarks About Staffers Accused Of Abuse

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) -- The White House was doing damage control after two senior staffers recently resigned, with top White House advisors appearing on Sunday morning political shows.

As CBS News' Laura Podesta reported, aide Rob Porter and speechwriter David Sorensen are both accused of abusing their former wives – and both have denied the allegations. President Donald Trump appeared to defend them late last week.

"I think what you saw the president go through this week, I don't know if you played the video of the comment he made - but he's extraordinarily saddened by this," said Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Budget and Management.

Trump spoke well of Porter on Friday, two days after a photo of his former wife was released.

Trump then tweeted on Saturday: "Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?"

One of Porter's ex-wives wrote in Time Magazine: "There it is again. The words "mere allegation" and "falsely accused" meant to imply that I am a liar."

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York) said Porter "never should have been in the chair."

Maloney said Sunday that Porter's history of allegations of abuse should have been flagged over a year ago, when Porter started working as staff secretary.

"You cannot have someone seeing our nation's secret who has a secret of their own," Maloney said. "They are so easy to blackmail, that's why you do a background check."

There are also now questions about White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's future, although officials said the president does not intend to fire him.

"As long as Donald Trump is president, our government is best served if John Kelly is in the job of chief of staff," said former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

A White House official told the Associated Press Kelly has not offered to resign.

CBS News has learned Porter informed Kelly back in November about the accusations from his ex-wives.


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