Feb 8, 2018

White House faces huge questions on Rob Porter exit

Photo: White House

Senior White House officials are in a state of shock, and facing huge questions about their handling of the crisis, over the resignation of Staff Secretary Rob Porter after his two former wives went on the record to allege physical abuse:

Why he matters: Porter, 40 — a clean-cut Harvard and Oxford standout who was chief of staff to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) — managed (and partly controlled) the information flow to President Trump, including clippings and briefings.

Colleagues tell me they can't reconcile the Rob Porter they know (consummate gentleman) with the Rob Porter they’re reading about, with a police report and photos of a black eye by a former wife.

Be smart: The West Wing couldn’t have handled it worse, including over-the-top statements of support for Porter before all the facts had come out.

  • The big question: Who in the West Wing knew about Porter's past, uncovered months ago by the FBI while investigating Porter for a security clearance?
  • Watch for: a glut of stories analyzing the M.O. and character of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, along with speculation about consequences for him.

Go deeper.

Go deeper

Sanders takes aim at Bloomberg: "Trump will chew him up and spit him out"

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders told CBS "60 Minutes" that he was surprised by Mike Bloomberg's lackluster performance at Wednesday's Democratic debate.

What he's saying: "If that's what happened in a Democratic debate, you know, I think it's quite likely that Trump will chew him up and spit him out."

Scoop: Lyft acquires cartop advertising startup Halo Cars

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Lyft has acquired Halo Cars, a small startup that lets ride-hailing drivers earn money via ad displays mounted atop their cars. Lyft confirmed the deal but declined to share any details.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing companies are increasingly eyeing additional ways to generate revenue, and Lyft rival Uber has been quietly testing a partnership with New York-based Cargo that gives it a cut of the advertising revenue, as I previously reported.

Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers

McEntee, shown with White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, walks on the South Lawn of the White House Jan. 9. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Johnny McEntee called in White House liaisons from cabinet agencies for an introductory meeting Thursday, in which he asked them to identify political appointees across the U.S. government who are believed to be anti-Trump, three sources familiar with the meeting tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: McEntee, a 29-year-old former body man to Trump who was fired in 2018 by then-Chief of Staff John Kelly but recently rehired — and promoted to head the presidential personnel office — foreshadowed sweeping personnel changes across government.