The Trump Administration’s already-sketchy Rob Porter narrative continued to unravel on Tuesday, with a new report claiming that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders personally arranged an off-the-record chat between Porter and a group of journalists before he officially resigned his post as White House Staff Secretary.
After pictures emerged of one of Porter’s ex-wives with a black eye, Politico claims that Huckabee Sanders invited four high-profile journalists—The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey, Axios’ Jonathan Swan, and the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender—for an impromptu chat with Porter. There, Politico says, “Porter relayed his version of events and fielded questions from the group.” (He has reportedly claimed that his ex-wife’s injury resulted from a bad encounter with a vase, not from his abuse.)
This hurried mini-gaggle between Porter and the press seems to directly contradict White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s later assertion that after he had learned the full extent of the alleged abuse “[Porter] was gone 40 minutes later.”
According to Politico, the White House declined to comment on whether Kelly knew about the off-the-record chat or not, but the meeting is still a startling example of the administration’s willingness to bend over backwards for Porter even as the extent of his alleged abuse became clear.
On Tuesday, Huckabee Sanders’ robotically insisted that “the president supports victims of domestic violence, and believes everyone should be treated fairly and with due process.”
Evidently the White House’s definition of being “treated fairly” and receiving “due process” includes a secret sit-down with four of the biggest news outlets in the country.