John Kelly Faces Scrutiny as Trump Questions Response to Abuse Allegations

President Donald Trump is privately questioning his White House’s response to domestic-abuse allegations against a key lieutenant, placing much of the blame on his chief of staff, John Kelly, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The president was also frustrated with Hope Hicks, the White House communications director who has been in a relationship with staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned this week following published reports that he abused his two ex-wives.

..  his most biting remarks were directed at Mr. Kelly, whose about-face on the accusations against Mr. Porter capped a tumultuous week for the chief of staff.

.. The drama surrounding the chief of staff comes as Mr. Trump has started to show some frustration with him, according to friends and advisers. Mr. Trump has already found workarounds to some of Mr. Kelly’s attempts to limit access to the president, such as relying on first lady Melania Trump to field calls from friends who don’t want to wait for the chief’s protocols.

.. Mr. Trump’s friends said the president has started to ask them about Mr. Kelly’s performance. One person said the president has sought opinions on potential replacements, such as Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

.. some aides inside the White House have started to question how much longer Mr. Kelly will remain.

.. Mr. Porter’s resignation marks a blow to Mr. Kelly. As the chief of staff seized control of the West Wing, Mr. Porter played an increasingly important role, and Mr. Kelly relied on him. 

.. Mr. Porter predated his boss’s arrival in the White House—he was an acquaintance of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, when both attended college, and he was hired at the start of the administration by former staff chief Reince Priebus

.. The White House hired Mr. Porter for the job at the recommendation of Sen. Orrin Hatch

.. had an impressive resume and political pedigree. His father, Roger Porter, was an adviser to former President George H.W. Bush.

.. Kelly and Porter spoke privately and Mr. Porter denied the assault allegation, a White House official said. Mr. Kelly then agreed to have the statement released in his name based on that conversation. The official said Mr. Kelly was misled by Mr. Porter in that discussion.