tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN February 8, 2018 11:00pm-12:00am PST
. goov. today trying to deal the fallout from this handing or mishandling of serious allegations of rob porter. a white house spokesperson said today we all could have done better. keeping them honest, keep that phrase in mind. we all could have done better. as you'll soon see, it conceals as much as it revealings. in a minute, i'll talk to jenny will bee. emotional abuse, frighting physical confrontation and even filed a temporary order of protection. porter's first wife also divorced him after years, she says of consistent abuse, including incidents of physical violence.
holderness has even released pictures of a black eye she says she got when porter hit her. she also says he shoved and choked her. porter calls all the allegations against him, quote, outrageous and simply false. he says the reality behind the pictures is, quote, nowhere close to what is being described and says, quote, i've been transparent and truthful about these vile claims. holderness provided the photos and told her story as did jenny to a british newspaper, and both women previously told their stories to the fbi, which was in the process of doing a background check on porter for a security cloorns. the fbi told senior officials at the white house, including john kelly. multiple sources telling us by last fall, month ago, it was widely known, let me just repeat that, widely known among top aides, kelly included, that rob porter was facing trouble getting clear and his ex-wives had discussed spousal abuse. the white house account of what they knew and when they knew it
has changed, to put it mildly. still the white house refuses to go into detail who of who knew what and when. that phrase, for example, we all could have done better -- when you hear it in its fuller context. listen. >> i think it's fair to say we all could have done better over the last few hours -- last few days in dealing with this situation. >> did you hear that? the last few hours or the last few days. meaning since the story came out in "the daily mail" earlier yesterday morning and at count of the ex-wives. keeping them honest, given what our multiple sources are telling us, that's a pretty narrow timeframe to have regrets about because it's not as if they found out about the allegations by reading "the daily mail" story. our sources say senior aides including chief of staff kelly have known of these allegations not for hours, not for days but for months and certainly knew of it on tuesday when the existence of the report became known and the white house crafted its first statement under kelly's name, written by aides,
including communications director hope hicks who is dating rob porter. quote, rob porter is a man of true integrity and honor and i can't say enough good things about him. he's a friend, a confidant and a trusted professional. knew about the spousal abuse allegations when they wrote that statement. exactly what kelly knew, that's not clear. they knew yesterday when one white house official tells us kelly was still urging porter to stay, insists he could weather the allegations they knew when porter resigned and kelly put out a second statement just last night. quote, i was shocked, he said, by the new allegations released today against rob porter. there is no place for domestic violence in our society. kellyeleased yesterday. keeping them honest, the only thing new about the allegations is that they a holderness's bla became public. something raj shah danced around
and that's a technical term at today's white house briefing. >> can you tell us, raj, when the white house first became of these allegations? >> well, i know there have been reports about the chief of staff. he became fully aware about these allegations yesterday. i'm not going to get into the specifics regarding who may have known what pieces of information because they were all part of an ongoing background check investigation. >> you say fully aware. was he partially aware? >> i think we all became aware of the news reports that emerged on wednesday morning and some of the graphic images. >> but did he know any of this back in november? >> again, i'm not going to get into the specifics. peter? >> let me ask you if i can, the statement changed from john kelly yesterday morning to yesterday evening, he said based on new allegations. what changed yesterday absent a photograph in terms of new allegations? >> well, think what i just referenced, the reports had additional allegations. they had more information. >> are you saying that the chief of staff of this white house had
not idea that rob porter's two ex-wives had domestic violence allegations against him when they made those claims to the fbi, that john kelly did not know that? how is that possible the chief of staff did not know that? >> well, again, this is part of an ongoing investigation. we trust the background check process and the chief of staff does not get detailed updates about what may or may not have been alleged. this is a process. it involves a thorough investigation. as i went through the process, it involves looking at not just accusations but denials. >> okay. when asked point-blank if john kelly knew about any of the allegations last dmiet, the spokesman refused to answer, i'm not going to get into specifics. those are the words he said. he did not deny that john kelly and others had known about the spousal abuse allegations for months that much became clear when reporters circled back to the topic again. >> follow up on the two questions on two different things. i just want to understand, you used the term fully aware. i don't understand what does
that's mean. >> i do know for instance he had not seen images prior to the statement on tuesday night. >> did he know of the allegations? >> sorry, say that again. >> did he know of some of the allegations. >> again, i'm not going to get into the specifics of what may have emerged the from the investigation. >> that's what's nonin the press as a non denial denial. the seriousness of what two women say they lived through for years and the apparent lack of soirnszness with which this alices were treated. again, my interview with one of rob porter's ex-wives in a moment. but first, cnn's jim acosta was in the briefing room when all the bobbing and weaving was happening. he joins us now. i understand you're getting new reporting about that briefing today. >> reporter: that's right, anderson. i was just talking with a source close to the white house who advises this white house on communications strategy from time to time. this source was telling me that the reason why raj shaw was not
giving a full tick-tock or explaining of the timetable in terms of what john kelly and other top white house staffers knew and when they knew it is because it is, quote, too damning and that is an indication, anderson, that i think they knew full well going into this briefing today that they simply could not give, you know, a detailed explanation as to what john kelly knew and when he knew it because it would just simply be too damaging to this white house. now obviously you were just playing these clips a few moments ago. it was apparent in the room. this was raj shaw's first briefing. he was filling in for sarah sanders who was away. you could have thrown anybody into that situation to dance around that question the way raj shaw did earlier today. it was blatantlily obvious they were trying to cover up that top officials here including the chief of staff knew something about rob porter's background months ago, anderson. >> they were repeatedly falling back on the word play of saying,
well, he was fully aware only in the last day, but also the idea that this is some sort of ongoing background check or security investigation. >> right. >> and therefore not everything was known or things wouldn't be known to the chief of staff. that just doesn't make sense. >> reporter: exactly. and when they received this information months ago, they had a decision to make, anderson, and they chose not to make the decision that rob porter had to go. that his security clearance was not going to happen. raj shaw was also making this distinction today that rob porter is continuing to work with an interim security clearance. well, he's working with an interim security clearance because that background check process was dredging up trouble. think that is why you heard raj -- anderson, i think the most incredible thing that happened today besides that really obvious dodging of the question on kelly and what he knew was the fact that he acknowledged -- raj shaw acknowledged the white house made mistakes in handling all of this. i asked that question, you know,
rob porter released a statement yesterday afternoon saying he took a photograph of this black eye. how could the white house go out and put these statements with glowing praise of the staff secretary? it just doesn't make any sense. anderson, i think this goes back to what we've been talking about, they thought they could weather this storm. obviously when you're covering up domestic abuse, it's a storm you can't weather. >> with all due respect, the idea it has to take a photograph of an actual black eye that becomes public nonetheless in order for minds to be changed, i mean, that says a lot about where we're at. >> reporter: and i think that explains why this press briefing that was supposed to happen at 1:00 this afternoon, then delayed until 2:30 and then 3:15 and we waited until after 3:30 for this briefing to happen. i think they were fumbling around and scrambling around to come up with some sort of answer. when they were throwing around the phrase that john kelly was
only fully aware yesterday, it is an evasive, obvious falsehood. i think if you have inclinations that there was domestic violence in your staff secretary's past months ago, you don't need a photograph. >> yeah. >> reporter: as raj shaw was saying, they were -- they were believing the defense that rob kelly was putting forward as much as they were believing these allegations. the denials were believed as much as the allegations, raj shaw was saying. taken as seriously. i think that goes to the issue here that they were not taking it as seriously as they should have. >> jim acosta from the white house. thank you so much. joining us now is jenny, married to rob porter from 2009 to 2013. she's a writer and speaker. thanks so much for being with us. i know it's not an easy thing. >> thank you, anderson. >> why are you coming forward? why are you speaking out? >> so i had no intention of speaking out and making these particular details of my marriage public. i feel as though the opportunity
to share my experience with other people and talk about the shame and the guilt that's associated with it and then also the healing and resiliency that comes after you've been able to step out. >> you hope it helps other people? >> it was really important for me, yeah, to be able to get that message out to other people. >> this isn't a vendetta against your former husband? >> no, i tried very much to make that clear when i was speaking with other media outlets that i have nothing against rob. i have long since done the healing and forgiveness that i needed to do and i seek no harm for him. >> let me take you back. the -- you were married -- the marriage started i think in november of 2009. >> that is correct. >> the abuse, the verbal abuse started on your honeymoon. >> even sooner than that, actually. we had a delayed honeymoon, so within the first probably two weeks i was already getting belittled and nitpicked and sort
of systematically torn apart for small things and seeing glimpses of his anger. >> you said he would curse at you? >> the actual cursing and insults didn't start until the honeymoon, which was about a month or so after we were married. >> had you gotten any hint of that during the dating process? >> you know, i hadn't. he is quite charming. and chivalrous and romantic. the way that he described his previous marriage, it all added up to how he was behaving when he was with me, so the only possible inclination that i had to a glimpse into his anger was at one point a month or so before we were married when he was particularly impatient. we were late for an appointment to meet with somebody and it just seems like a little bit disproportionate to the situation. but even that wasn't a red flag for what i experienced ultimately. >> it was just a few months after your honeymoon in june i
think of 2010 that you actually filed for a temporary protective order. >> yes. >> can you talk about the incident that motivated that? >> yes. rob and i had been seeing a marriage counselor and together had drafted a separation agreement primarily because of hi anger and the verbal and emotional abuse. so at that time, he was meant to be living in our home that we had recently purchased. he came to the apartment where i was staying and refused to leave. after he did ultimately leave and i closed the door and locked it behind him, he returned a moment later and punched in the glass on the front door. because i did know that his anger was unpredictable, i didn't know what he would do next and i -- >> you were frightened? >> yeah, i was scared. >> and you called the police? >> and i did call the police. >> was it the police who recommended the protective --
temporary protective order? >> yeah, i -- even in that moment, you know, when my husband had just punched in the glass on my door and made me scared, i didn't realize the extent of what i was dealing with and thankfully there was a police officer who sort of counselled me, you know, you didn't think he would punch in a window and now he did, so you don't want to know -- you don't really know what could happen in the future, and with that counsel and ultimately counselling with a mormon bishop, i decided to file the temporary protective order. >> you hat written on a blog post about the counselling with the bishop and one of the things the bishop had sort of suggested to you or mentioned to you is do you want to file this temporary protective order because of the impact it might have on your husband's career. >> yeah. >> how did you feel when that was brought up? >> i was taken aback.
it seemed sort of not the priority in the situation that i was discussing. i hold no ill will towards that bishop. think he was making a decision the best he could with the information that he had, but ultimately i think it shows some of the nuances of what someone goes through when they're in an abusive relationship that because i was unable to clearly articulate the fear that i had and to clearly articulate even some of the more extreme forms of emotional or verbal abuse that i was experiencing, he really didn't understand the severity of the situation and was able to make that as a recommendation. >> one of the things the -- you didn't know his ex-wife, his first wife. >> no. >> so you didn't know the allegations that -- what she had said, the choking -- >> no. >> the assaults. >> i was unaware of that at all. >> all of which, of course, he denied and continues to deny. i'm wondering, at a certain
point, though, you were arguing and there was a -- you said there was a physical, i don't know how to describe it, confrontation of sorts. >> yeah. the first and perhaps the only physical abuse that i suffered was after an argument where we were both yelling in each other's faces. which, unfortunately, had become the norm in our marriage and i removed myself from the situation to take a shower. to cool down. to disengage from the situation. he came to the shower and opened the door and pulled me out to continue yelling at me. >> he put his hands on you and pulled you out? >> yeah. >> was that a startling moment for you? >> i think up until that moment i didn't -- i didn't realize that i was in an abusive marriage. i think that sounds almost ridiculous coming out of my mouth, given how i can speak about it and remember things
now, but i don't know, it was until that moment that i realized i was with a man that was capable of something like that. >> i think so many women will relate to what you just said, and one of the things you wrote -- you wrote about, you talked about how when you would go outside, people would compliment your husband and say how lucky you were to have a guy like that and sort of his public face was an incredibly impressive one. did that add to that sense of not being able to believe what was going on at home? so, i, i mean, i think you hit in the crux of how i was able to arrive here in your studio. someone who could rise professionally and have the accolades of so many even in the face of what's unfolding to have the support of so many people in the white house and former colleagues that the idea that he could be so different seems to escape people.
and yet everyone in their daily lives has a different personality for different situations. i think this for rob was just a really extreme and toxic version of that. >> you had said strangers complimented him to me every time we went out, but in my home, the abuse was insidious, the threats were personality, the terror was real. that's what it felt, terror? >> it was a low-grade constant terror of not knowing what i might to to set something off. what mood he would have. there weren't any explicit threats, but i frequently felt threatened. >> there was one other thing you wrote, and then i want to take a break for a moment. you wrote, if he was -- about why you stayed. if he was a monster all the time, perhaps it would be easier to leave, but he could be kind and sensitive so i stayed. he cried and apologized so i stayed. he offered to get help and went
to a few counselling sessions and therapy groups, and so i stayed. >> yeah, you know, this is a questi question -- i specifically wrote that because that's a question i'm asked a lot, why did you stay if he was a, quote, unquote, monster? the reality is, he's not a monster, he is an intelligent, kind, chivalrous, caring professional man and he's deeply troubled and angry and violent. i don't think those things are mutually exclusive. >> and the people he works with may not have seen that side of him at all. >> of course not. of course not. it's reserved for the most intimate and most vulnerable moments. in his life. >> we're going to take a quick break. we'll continue talking. we'll be right back.
we were talking to jenny, one of the two women alleging spousal abuse at the hands of rob porter. reached out to you i think in 2017 after the fbi had interviewed both of you. when you started to hear her story. when you actually met, i'm wondering what that experience was like. she's alleging numerous acts of physical abuse, of choking, you know, being pushed down on a bed. held down. a knee placed on her and
obviously there are the photographs of her with a black eye. >> yeah, first of all, i just absolutely am in awe of her and her bravery and willingness to share that as publicly as she has. when we met in march of 2017 after we had both had to sort of rehash our experiences with the fbi, it was -- it was almost like a longtime validation because obviously being in that relationship, i knew on some level that it wasn't me, and that colby had to have experienced similar things, even though rob manipulated the story of his marriage to her several times. when i met her and she described the insults and the systematic tearing down of everything that we knew to be true about ourselves, i just immediately
thought i wasn't alone, you know? deep down i had known that. >> that must have been an extraordinary feeling to realize, wait a minute, this is not me, this is -- this has happened before. >> yeah, and i think a lot of people in abusive relationships because of the constant insidious breaking down of that confidence and of that even knowledge of sense of self start to believe that it really is something that they're doing or something that they in some way deserved because of their choices. and for me, i think i just sort of accepted it once it became the norm and i lost a lot of confidence and just accepted that's what it was. and it took years to get past that point, but it took meeting colby and really hearing her story and me sharing my story and going, yeah, that happened to me, too, before i could recognize the magnitude of it. >> when you saw the photographs
of her with a black eye. rob porter says he took the photos and that the story behind it is different than what she's alleging. colby says she actually said, yes, he did take the photos because she actually made him take the photos as sort of an act of contrition after she says that he punched her. i'm just wondering when you actually saw those photographs, did she show them to you? >> she didn't show them to me. when we met in march, she did tell me they existed. >> seeing the photos is new to you? >> yeah. >> i'm wondering the -- how that -- how that impacted you. >> you know, ie'd be lying if i said that i didn't feel lucky that the abuse i endured wasn't like that. even when she told me some of the things she experienced, it was almost like an abstract reality, until i'm seeing it and hearing her accounts of it now. >> and then another woman
reached out to you more recently in 2016, is that right? >> yeah, that is correct. >> so was that after the fbi or before? >> no, that was well before. i was contacted by a woman via facebook. i don't know her. we don't have any mutual friends. in february of 2016. i was traveling internationally so i didn't correspond with her very much, but she essentially reached out to me saying that she was in a relationship with rob. she had been for several years. and was experiencing abuse and feeling crazy and felt that the people she had shared with didn't believe her and that she was isolated and alone and she wanted to know if she was. am i alone? am i crazy? i think were her exact questions. >> was she looking to get out of the relationship? >> it seemed in her correspondence with me that she had recently ended the relationship and was just
feeling the extreme deflation that comes with that. you've been skaufted and on this heightened adrenaline for so long in a relationship like that. think she was sort of feeling that train and that exhaustion. however, i did find out a couple of months later when she contacted me again that they were still in a relationship. >> when the fbi came to you, was it -- did you -- did they start asking questions? did they know about the allegations of abuse or was that something that -- >> they didn't ask me specific questions about abuse, having never done a security background interview of that way, i don't know if there were specific targeted questions, but it seems to me they did a fairly standard background check and they were asking me to describe his character, asking me to describe anything i thought might be problematic in his position. they did ask what was the nature of our relationship.
and they did ask if i felt that he would be different professionally versus privately, and i was very candid and frank and detailed with them about my marriage. >> you had been -- you were in touch with porter even after the divorce. you maintained -- >> yeah. >> would you say cordial relationships? >> yeah. >> would you actually see him or just talk on the phone? >> i think once or twice over the four years we probably saw -- we saw each other once or twice. >> did he know the fbi talked to you and was he concerned about that at all? >> because we were in contact, he let me know the fbi was going to be contacting me and got the information so that they could. >> just standard procedure? >> yeah. leading up to the interview, he asked me what i intended to say and what types of things i would say about him, and i was honest with him about what i planned to say. after the fbi interview, he
wanted to know the things, what types of things did they ask. rob was aware what i shared with the fbi. >> was he concerned about what his first wife had said? >> yes. >> do you think his past actions should prevent him from working in the white house? >> that's such a difficult question for me to answer, and i've been asked it multiple times and mulling it over and it's sort of a greater question i think for society today, you know, can we separate a man from his mistakes, if we want to call it that? or can we separate a man's work from his private life. for me, especially now that i'm feeling more empowered that i've told my story, that i'm sharing details that even my closest family and friends didn't know and i'm sharing that publicly, i'm feeling more and more empowered that we need to have a conversation that anyone who is
manipulative or abusive of power or abusive in any way is held accountable regardless of what they contribute. it's really concerning to me that that's what the discussion has been, is, well, but what did -- what did rob contribute? what was his -- what was his work as opposed to, you know, this is a troubled man with issues that needs help. >> i want to continue the conversation for another break, if that's okay? we're going to take a short break. i want to ask about reactions to what the white house has been saying about all this. stay tuned. oh, manatees. aka "the sea cow"" oh! there's one. manatees in novelty ts? surprising. what's "come at me bro?" it's something you say to a friend. what's not surprising? how much money matt saved by switching to geico.
hol back now with jenni willoughby. i wanted to ak you about a couple of things the white house has said or done or not done. chief of staff john kelly said porter is, quote, a man of true integrity and honor. that what he said earlier yesterday. they now say they only became fully aware of the allegations yesterday and then when asked today about what changed between when the first statement was made and the later statement, they said it was, quote, the full nature of the allegations particularly the images.
do you think it should have taken the white house seeing images of colbie bruised and battered to come up with a different statement? >> you know, i feel like that's a speculative thing that i can't really answer just because of the -- of my closeness to it and the nature of it, but i do feel as though knowing rob the way that i do, he probably is able to, even -- even if his clearance hadn't gone through and they knew it was because of problems his marriage, i think he was probably able to spin it in a way that it was minimized, that is was downplayed. and i genuinely believe that chief of staff kelly thought it was lesser than it was, and seeing those photographs i wish that my interview would have been enough, but seeing those photographs sort of solidified that, no, this is, in fact, an
issue. >> it's still not clear because the white house won't answer what general kelly knew when he knew it and to what extent he knew about the reports, the allegations that both of you had made. there is this new statement out from general kelly where he said he was shocked by the, quote, new allegations and there is, quote, no place for domestic violence. is it important to you that somebody like general kelly believes your story? >> it's important to me in general that anyone who is coming forward with a story like that is believed up front. that it's not on the burden of proof for me or anyone else to justify those claims. and that the conversation around abuse or assault or even misogyny in general doesn't automatically turn to, well, he's really great, could it possibly be that she's exaggerating or she's not telling the truth or it's not as bad as they're making it out to
be? because there is very little evidence that any woman would bring that kind of scrutiny upon themselves to share these types of details. i didn't ask for this. i would never have shared these types of details as publicly if the media hadn't come to me with this moment to do that. >> the statement that rob porter issued reads, these outrageous allegations are simply false. i've been transparent and truthful about these vile claims but i will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign. is this a coordinated smear campaign? >> no. no. i had no intentions of disparaging rob. i had been in contact with rob a lot in the last two weeks as he gave me some warning that stories might break and knew that people might be sniffing around my blog post. >> he warned you that this might come out? >> yeah. yeah. >> was he concerned about that? >> yeah, he had asked me multiple times to take down my
instagram posts. >> you had done a blog post where you hadn't named any names. >> no. >> you just talked in general about your experience. >> right. and i had done -- i had done so with the intention of reaching people who may need to hear that message and see what it's like on the other side, you know, to have that hope. rob was aware of that post when it originally went out a year ago, a little less than a year ago and, again, asked me to talk to down two weeks ago, i think in anticipation of me being questioned about it. >> did he ever ask you to deny the allegations? >> no, we were in contact even a couple of days ago as he was asking me to release a statement about my clog blog post. i went back and forth with him for or ago or so about what language i would be comfortable with. ultimately the language he asked, i wasn't comfortable with. he came out with that statement less than an hour later. >> can you say what he wanted you to say? >> i don't remember the exact
wording, but it was something along the lines of the post does not accurately depict my marriage. there were some other things that were associated with it. that just didn't feel right to me because it does accurately depict my marriage. another thing he wanted me to say was that i had taken some liberties with this therapeutic post, which it was for me, that i had taken liberties with that the therapeutic post. when i thought about it, i didn't. the things i said were factual statements. >> it sounds like he was asking you to deny what you had -- >> he was asking me to downplay it and he was asking me to emphasize more of the relationship that he and i have now as opposed to what i experienced in our marriage. >> have you talked to him in the last couple of days? >> i haven't. i haven't spoken to him since that conversation. >> the -- rob porter's now in a relationship with white house press secretary hope hicks. do you think he's changed? >> i don't think he's changed. >> does that worry you?
>> it worries me for a lot of reasons. i mean, it definitely worries me because if i'm being frank with you, if he hasn't already been abusive with hope, he will, and particularly now that he's under a lot of stress and scrutiny, that's when the behaviors come out. if he hasn't already, he will. >> you think he can't -- he has not gotten help, he can't stop at this point? >> i don't think that he has done the self-reflective work to acknowledge this issue. i don't think that he has really taken the time to deconstruct why it is that he behaves this way and until he's able to do that, i don't know that he has control over it. >> so you're saying you're worried about hope hicks? >> i am worried. >> the -- i read part of this before, but you'd said that after three years of marriage you were a shell of a person, a
muted version of the woman i had been when i met rob. can you talk to me about recovery for this? because there are a lot of women right now who are in situations, trapped in situations -- >> men and women. >> men and women. don't feel they can get out. and i'm wondering how you moved through it and what your message is to them. >> thank you for asking that. think that's one of the primary messages that i want to get ou when you're in that relationship, just the idea of sharing those details is exhausting and overwhelming. it doesn't necessarily take one instance to convince someone to get out. over the spectrum of abuse, the instances start to run together. so my message is one of, if you feel as though your personality has been muted, as though your livelihood is not at the level that it had been or that it could be, something is wrong in
your relationship. something is toxic in your relationship. and i don't know that we need to attribute blame and call one person an abuser and one person a victim or one person a monster and one person a victim. i think it's a matter of recognizing that something is severely broken and going to get the help that both of you need. for someone on the receiving end of some type of abuse and feel like they're losing themselves. the recovery comes when you recognize you have no control over that person's behavior and what you have control over is your own choices and how you react to them. >> you don't use that term, victim? >> i don't. i don't feel like i was a victim for a couple of reasons. the first is, i chose rob, you know? and subconsciously, whether i can pinpoint it or not, i chose him, and so there is something that i needed to work through in that. i'm not saying that it was my fault that i ended up in that marriage, but i acknowledge that
there was something in me that allowed me to accept it as long as i did. so in that way, no, i'm not a victim. rob is abusive and rob is flawed and definitely has anger. i think he might also suffer from depression and the anger is the outlet for that, but he's not a monster and he's not an abuser in that that is what he should be defined as. i don't believe that. >> even though he was -- you say he was abusive -- >> yes. >> and his former wife says he was abusive. >> yeah. and i think the reason that i'm able to say that and feel that is because ultimately i do believe in redemption and i do believe that if or when rob is ready to do the work that he needs to do, he can be -- he can be a good man and he can be redeemed and that's not at on me and it's not on me to own and i don't want to seek to judge or
to hurt somebody who is in that position because god forbid somebody judge me and the mistakes that i've made and in the life choices that have brought me to where i am. > >>y -- jennie willoughby, thank you so much. is there anything else you want to say? >> no. thanks for having me. >> we'll be right back. next time, i want you on my bowling team. [ laughs ] rodney. bowling. classic. can i help you? it's me. jamie. i'm not good with names. celeste! i trained you. we share a locker. -moose man! -yo. he gets two name your price tools. he gets two? i literally coined the phrase, "we give you coverage options based on your budget." -that's me. -jamie! -yeah. -you're back from italy. [ both smooch ] ciao bella.
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or a classic bonus jack combo for $5! it's like i tell jack jr., it's all about big values, jr. prices. moments ago, i spoke with jenny wibly who does not describe her ex-husband rob porter -- is not a monster, she says, but says he was an abuser to hers. and fears she may still be to hope hicks, whom he is now seeing. here are some of the things she said about the conversations they had in the recent days. >> he was asking me to release a statement about my blog post and i went back and forth with him for about an hour or so the language i would be comfortable with. ultimately i wasn't comfortable with. >> can he say what you wanted him to say? >> i don't remember the exact wording, but it was something along the lines of the post does
not accurately depict my marriage. there were some other things that were associated with it. that just didn't feel right to me because it does accurately depict my marriage. the other thing he wanted me to say is is that i had taken some liberties with this therapeutic post, which is was for me, that i had taken liberties with that therapeutic post. when i thought about it, i didn't. the things i said were factual statements. >> joining me now is amanda carpenter, jen psaki, former white house communications director for president obama and cnn political director david chalian. amanda, you heard what jenny wi willoughby said. i'm wondering what you took away from it. >> the takeaway from that sound bite is that someone acting as a representative of the white house asked a woman to change her truth about the abuse that she suffered. and this isn't just about a staff secretary, this is about the culture of abuse that
continues to permeate within this white house that we all were well-aware of, even during the campaign. aides to donald trump have gone forth and told the press that they viewed it as a litmus test of whether people would be willing to defend donald trump in the aftermath of the "access hollywood" tapes. let's be clear, on those tapes he talked favorably about sexual assault. so that is a job requirement in this white house. so, no, i'm not surprised when people look the other way when they learn these facts about mr. porter. but the reason why it should concern everyone, it's not a staff issue, is that we should want the best of america working for the white house. it is a reflection of us. what it has turned into is an amplification of the worst of donald trump. >> jen, i mean, i'd love to hear your thoughts on what jennie willoughby was saying and also how the white house has responded to this because they're clearly just not answering when john kelly knew
about these allegations and the extent to which he knew. i mean, our reporting is that he knew about it months ago. >> well, anderson, i'll say it was hard to watch that interview and watch the last 24 hours of the white house's response and not feel angry and sickened as an american, as a woman, as a human being in terms of how all of this has been handled. what was striking to me from the clip you just played is that this is a person who is still trying to manipulate here just over the last couple of days and weeks. that is really something you see in patterns of abuse. to me this is much larger. there are huge holes in the white house's story line about the timeline here, and having been through a background check and having been through processes where staff have been fired or not been let through to a security clearance, there is simply no way they didn't know in the process. that's not how is works. but the larger issue here, i think, is in the last 48 hours, they did know all facts. they knew all the specific
details. yes, they saw the pictures and they still defended him. they didn't fire him. they defended his integrity and his honesty. and as amanda says, that speaks to the culture of the white house. what you're saying is acceptable. for me, for somebody who served for eight years, people who have served for republican and democratic administrations, it's really disheartening and upsetting to see this kind of behavior be accepted from that building. >> david, i mean, what do you make of the white house response? is this something that they're just going to barrel through? i mean, clearly at the press briefing today, they just didn't answer question. they said, oh, it's an ongoing background investigation, which is just, you know, a rildiculou that there is this rolling year-long ongoing security review of rob porter that seems never-ending and that no information can be discussed before that is concluded. that's just not what we're hearing. >> yeah, the fumbling reaction
from the white house became all the more stark in just seeing the strength of this woman, jennie, and the way that she is able to speak her truth and tell her story. when you compare that against the just keystone cop situation going on at the white house. certainly culturally as jen and amanda were saying, but politically, it's not istanb sustainable right now. what raj shaw said today, anderson, is not going to be the last word from the white house. >> we've got to take a quick break. we're going to continue the conversation in just a moment. .
we're talking about jenny willoughby, the extent to which the white house knew about her allegations against rob parorte. she talked about why chief of staff john kelley may have known less about the details than we might expect. >> he probably is able to even -- even if his clearance hadn't gone through and they knew it was because of problems in his marriage, i think he was probably able to spin it such a way it was minimized, down played. i generally believe that chief of staff kelley thought that it was less than it was.
seeing those photographs, i wish that my interview would have been enough, but seeing those photographs sort of solidified that, no, this is an issue. >> amanda, does general kelley have the credibility to remain in his post? as we're reporting, if he knew of these allegations as far back as last fall? >> in a traditional white house, of course not. but this is donald trump's white house. and donald trump seems to turn a blind eye to these kinds of issues. locker room talk. we know about the allegations from his first wife ivana when his daughter, michael cohen, came out and said, when she told -- talked about being raped in her deposition, she didn't mean raped in a literal or criminal sense. we're talking about a white house that has a long and deep history of revising statements, of changing the truth to make themselves look better. and let's keep in mind the story from a week ago where michael cohen was discovered to pay hush
money to a woman who has sex on camera for money, stormy daniels. this isn't an isolated issue when it comes to donald trump. it is a disturbing paper of behavior that keeps happening. but moreover, what is really concerning is the constant pressure to get a woman like jenny to not believe her own truth. to not believe what has happened to her. at least lie to people about it. and a representative from the white house essentially asked her to lie to fbi investigators for a background check to preserve his own self interest. there's a reason why we have security clearances and background checks, to make sure the people in charge of our government have sound judgment and aren't making bad decisions for self-interested reasons. >> it's also important to point out, there is a trail -- i mean, people talk about speaking their truth. there's also just truth. and there is a trail of evidence here. there's not only the photographs, there's this temporary protective order that
jenny got. and it describes the incident of rob porter punching his hand through a plate glass window at a property he wasn't supposed to be at, based on a separation agreement they had both come to, and a police officer encouraging her to get an order of protection. >> that's right. there's quite a bit of evidence. and as she said during your interview, it is very unlikely, uncommon, for women to come out and speak about domestic abuse if it was not actually the case and the truth. there's also the fact that the process that typically works for a back ground check is that the fbi goes through the process, they can flag things, they would be flagged for doj. doj would then bring them to the white house counsel. so that is not a process that needs to be concluded. and some of the holes in their story and some of the challenges or issues are that they are leaning into a process that doesn't explain or justify their
decision-making. and they're suggesting that things like the fact that he may have been abusive before he took his job at the white house is going to be justification. and believe me, it is not going to be. or the fact that perhaps it wasn't as bad of an abuse as we thought, that that is justification. what level of domestic abuse is acceptable? what timeline is acceptable? those are the questions that real people are going to be asking. >> raj shaw today said and i wish i had the quote, all of these allegations occurred long before he came to the white house. well, his girlfriend who has contacted jenny and colby, the two ex-wives, that was recent. that was not a long time ago. that was just in the last -- >> and why does it matter? >> well, yes, of course. coming up, more of my conversation with one of the former white house aides -- of rob porter's ex-wives. what jenny willoughby told me
welcome to the second hour of "360." on the table, one of rob porter's ex-wives speaks out about the abuse she says she endured while married to him. that and the effort of the the white house seems to be making to obscure how long op officials have known the allegations against the former top aide. also the showdown over a government shutdown and the budget drama on the senate floor. omarosa newman issues a dire warn billion her former boss, she does it of course on "big brother." "big brother house." is it "big brother"? sorry, i don't watch it. i just want to get to know one of the women for whom this is not