Trump Says He Still Has Confidence in Embattled EPA Chief Scott Pruitt

Embattled Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt met with President Donald Trump on Friday to lay out his case for why he should remain in his post amid a stream of questions about his ethical standing.

However, in Wednesday's press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders did not provide a definitive answer as to whether the president is considering firing Pruitt.

Pruitt's management of his staff has also come under scrutiny - the EPA chief's staff has reportedly given raises to two aides without White House approval, limited employee access to his office, and tracked his employees' e-mails for criticisms of him or Trump. Perhaps he'll say he didn't know that, when they were rejected by the White House's Presidential Personnel Office, EPA staff found a workaround using the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Pruitt, a vocal doubter of mainstream climate change science, also is facing criticism for frequent first-class air travel, spending on costly items in his office, including a US$43,000 soundproof telephone booth, and for a trip to Morocco in which he promoted U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas.

Meanwhile, an EPA ethics official said Wednesday he wasn't provided all of the relevant "factual information" before determining last week that Pruitt's $50-a-night rental was not an ethics violation.

As with anything in the Trump White House, the situation remains fluid and circumstances continue to change from moment to moment.

"We all serve at the pleasure of the president", Hogan Gidley told reporters Thursday. "If he's not pleased you'll know it".

Trump has resisted calls from many top advisers to oust Pruitt but has complained privately about the EPA chief for days, advisers said.

The report goes in depth on how these staffers were sidelined, often publicly so, following conversations with Pruitt over these issues. "He's been very courageous", the president told reporters Thursday afternoon on Air Force One as he returned to Washington from an event in West Virginia.

"I think he's made the bet that the fossil fuel industry will take care of him one way or another", Sen.

Administration officials have sounded increasingly doubtful about whether Pruitt will remain on the job long-term.

In the tweet, Trump wrote that Pruitt is "doing a great job but is TOTALLY under siege".

Agency records obtained through open-records requests show the critical role that Mr. Allen, Mr. Chmielewski and Mr. Reeder played in reviewing Mr. Pruitt's travel plans.

Top officials at the EPA initially demanded Chmielewski's resignation but did not fire him, instead placing him on unpaid administrative leave, an uncertain limbo.

John C. Martin, a member of Pruitt's security detail was also fired after questioning the way Pruitt was handling his security team.

Scott Pruitt is even more under the microscope this week than last- but not for hastening the deaths of thousands or giving kids asthma attacks, it's for giving his employees pay raises.

In the 14 months he's been the nation's top environmental rulemaker, the former Oklahoma attorney general who sued the EPA more than a dozen times has rolled back the Clean Power Plan, delayed the Waters of the US rule, and helped convince the president to back out of the Paris Accord on climate change, among a number of changes.

Despite Trump's current backing, it's unclear whether Pruitt will survive the storm.

"Some have raised questions whether the actual use of the space was consistent with the terms of the lease", Minoli said, referencing a second bedroom in the unit which was used by Pruitt's daughter McKenna.

McCollum was there last March when Pruitt's security detail kicked in his door because it could not reach him.

  • Leroy Wright


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