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White House official: "Kelly cover-up is unraveling"

Chief of Staff John Kelly
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly listens to local and state officials during a meeting Feb. 12. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Chief of Staff John Kelly's White House enemies are ready to use FBI Director Chris Wray's testimony as a weapon: "Wray’s FBI timeline makes one thing clear: the Kelly coverup is unraveling right before our eyes," a White House official says.

Kelly’s allies insist he knew nothing about the domestic violence until the Daily Mail story and that former White House aide Rob Porter misled Kelly to get the positive statement. (Porter denies this and tells associates he gave Kelly a full picture of what would be in the story, and denied the more serious accusations of physical abuse.)

Kelly’s story — that he acted immediately and decisively “within 40 minutes” to terminate Porter last Tuesday night — is also undermined by what multiple White House officials told reporters in real time. They said on Wednesday that nobody asked Porter to resign and in fact several senior officials asked him to “stay and fight.”

Why this matters: Kelly had overseen relative calm among White House staff since his appointment. The bungled response to allegations of abuse by Porter has thrown that into disarray.

Go deeper: How the FBI director contradicted the White House on the Porter timeline

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