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07 Abril 2018, 02:15 | Crisanna Felipe
Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt faced questions about his lease and two big raises that went through for EPA staff members close to him
"He's been very courageous". Last autumn, Trumpsaid he had confidence in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, even after their relationship was strained by differences of opinion on Iran and Russian Federation policy.
Pruitt has come under increasing scrutiny following a report by ABC News that revealed he lived in the condo a year ago. Trump may not appreciate the negative attention Pruitt is getting-and he certainly hates the positive attention, such as a New York Timesheadline last month, "Scott Pruitt, Trump's Rule-Cutting E.P.A".
Pruitt has been a harsh critic of the agency he now presides over throughout his entire professional life, levying several lawsuits against the EPA as the attorney general of Oklahoma.
Pruitt has loyally executed Trump's deregulatory agenda with plans to roll back Obama-era programmes cutting emissions from power plants and vehicles. The president responded: "I do".
As EPA administrator, Pruitt has moved to carry out U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign pledge to roll back or reconsider a slew of environmental protections deemed burdensome by the industry, including climate change regulations.
"The president thinks he's done a good job, particularly on the deregulation front", Sanders said.
In an interview with Fox News Wednesday, Pruitt justified the condo arrangement, saying it was "like an Airbnb situation" and that he did not do anything improper.
EPA's senior ethics official, Kevin Minoli, recently reviewed the lease - months after Pruitt had vacated the apartment - and initially deemed the arrangement did not violate agency rules on accepting gifts.
Had Pruitt stayed in the condo every night in a given month, he would have owed $1,500 - but canceled checks reviewed by Bloomberg show Pruitt made a payment of $1,700 on September 1, suggesting he eventually paid his back rent.
Though last week Minoli said the rate for the one bedroom was fair market value, his estimation failed to consider the second bedroom. A source familiar with how things have unfoldedsaid Kelly called Pruitt Tuesday morning to ask if there were other issues that could become public that he needed to know about.
For instance, as the Washington Postreported, "several EPA officials have confirmed that Pruitt's adult daughter stayed in the condo apartment's second bedroom for a period when she was working at the White House past year".
Any one of Scott Pruitt'smany ethics violations would justify his ouster, but his disastrous Fox News interview about his misconduct could ultimately be the kiss of death.
Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if Trump was OK with Pruitt's actions, Sanders replied: "The president's not".
When Trump announced that his drug czar nominee Tom Marino had withdrawn from consideration (after reports showed he'd pushed legislation that may have worsened the opioid crisis) the president called Marino a "fine man." .
Administrator, gestures as he testifies to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in Washington January 30, 2018. Trump is offering his support to the head of the Environmental Protection Agency who is at the center of swirling ethics questions.
CBS News first reported that the head of Pruitt's security detail was demoted previous year after the career employee refused the administrator's demand to use the lights and sirens on his EPA vehicle to get him through D.C. traffic faster.
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