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White House: Allegations against Porter are "serious and disturbing"

Raj Shah.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said at his debut White House briefing that domestic abuse allegations against staff secretary Rob Porter are "serious and disturbing," and that the officials "could have done better" in handling the situation.

Why it matters: The White House has been criticized on its handling of the allegations against Porter and his resignation. Axios' Jonathan Swan reported on Wednesday that he was encouraged "to stay and fight." Chief of staff John Kelly released two statements regarding Porter: the first saying he was a "man of true integrity," and the second saying he was "shocked" by the allegations.

  • Shah said Kelly "became fully aware of these allegations [against Rob Porter] yesterday."
  • President Trump was "saddened" by the allegations: "He, like many of us, did not see that in Rob Porter."
  • When the allegations were made to the FBI about domestic abuse, Porter was "operating on an interim security clearance," and the background investigation had not been completed.
  • He said "the communications director [Hope Hicks]" recused herself from "some matters" regarding Porter.
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Trump: Transgender people "disqualified" from the military

SecDef Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

President Trump late Friday issued an order disqualifying most transgender people from serving in the military.

"[T]ransgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Why it matters: Anything short of an inclusive policy for transgender troops will be viewed as a continuation of the ban Trump announced on Twitter in August.

Haley Britzky 14 hours ago
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Both Bush and Obama also requested line item veto power

Donald Trump.
Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday evening that to avoid having "this omnibus situation from ever happening again," he wants Congress to re-instate "a line-item veto."

Why it matters: This would allow him to veto specific parts of a bill without getting rid of the entire thing. Trump was deeply unhappy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress early Friday morning, but signed it anyway on Friday afternoon.