Hicks, who is rumored to be dating Porter, recused herself from "some matters" related to the scandal, according to Shah. "Those statements reflected the Rob Porter we knew". Porter has denied their allegations.
Kelly's memo comes after Rob Porterannounced plans to resign amid allegations that he verbally and physically abused his two ex-wives.
Porter's defenders say Kelly didn't know the full details because Porter's background check was never completed.
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The White House has come under fire for releasing statements praising Porter's character before the allegations came out.
Senior staff at the White House apply for five-year clearances, and the process can be lengthy - some current officials are still waiting, aides said.
Despite his resignation, Porter hit back at the accusations. Several news agencies have reported that he is now romantically linked with another close Trump family friend, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.
"I did talk to the president earlier today and he said he was saddened by the reports", Shah said-"by the information he saw, and by the images he saw".
"He was surprised. He, like many us, did not see that in Rob Porter", Shah said.
"I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign", he added. She said Porter kicked her during their honeymoon and, during a 2005 vacation in Italy, punched her in the face.
In the emotional interview on Thursday night, Willoughby also said her ex-husband asked her to "downplay" her account in an April 2017 blog post titled "Why I stayed".
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White House aide out after allegations of domestic abuse
He said the photos were taken almost 15 years ago, and that the "reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described". Porter began traveling more frequently in Trump's entourage, including last month's trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos.