His anticipated elevation further highlights how top White House officials were willing to overlook indications from the FBI that there were potential abuse allegations in his background in exchange for professional competence in a tumultuous West Wing.
Porter had been actively lobbying to take on new policy portfolios outside the traditional scope of the staff secretary, one person familiar with the matter said, which included speechwriting duties and a role in planning policy rollouts. Neither of those tasks is traditionally carried out by the staff secretary.
Another source told CNN that Porter was under consideration for the deputy chief of staff position:
CNN reported Friday that Jim Carroll, who served as the deputy chief of staff for less than three months, was stepping down to helm the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Chief of Staff John Kelly along with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump viewed Porter as a competent staffer and wanted to see him elevated within the administration.
White House officials have indicated they were misled by Porter regarding the allegations:
"That's what the President did up until the time that it became obvious, when the photographs came out, that the person was not being honest with the President," Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. "After that happened, we dismissed that person immediately."
But FBI Director Christopher Wray contradicted that story Tuesday when he testified that White House officials received their first report on Porter in March of last year, followed by updates in July and November.
"The FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March and then a completed background investigation in late July," Wray said as he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. "Soon thereafter, we received requests for follow up inquiry and we did the follow up and provided that information in November and then we administratively closed the file in January. And then, earlier this month, we received some additional information and we passed that on as well."