Talk about gall.
Scott Pruitt, the controversial Environmental Protection Agency Administrator who is the subject of at least 14 federal investigations for ethics violations, misuse of his office, and more, pitched President Trump on the idea of firing Jeff Sessions and making him the Attorney General, at least for a while, according to CNN.
Pruitt put himself forward as the nation’s chief law enforcer this past Spring during a period when Trump was loudly complaining behind closed doors that Sessions should never have recused himself from the investigation into collusion by Trump and his campaign with Russia while it was tampering in the 2016 presidential election.
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Pruitt served as the Attorney General of the state of Oklahoma prior to taking his post in the Trump administration and has shown he is very ambitious.
“In an Oval Office conversation with Trump,” reports CNN, “Pruitt offered to temporarily replace Sessions for 210 days under the Vacancies Reform Act, telling the President he would return to Oklahoma afterward to run for office.”
The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 allows a president to temporarily fill a vacancy at a federal agency if the official “dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office.,” according to CNN.
Again, in almost 50 years of watching Washington from up close, I have never seen a more deeply corrupt public official. Scott Pruitt is disgraceful to the core. As are the Republican enablers of this corruption in Congress. https://t.co/vnpdhExfxK
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) July 3, 2018
While the White House and EPA declined to confirm the story, if it is true that would be a strong indication that Pruitt feels very confident Trump is on his side despite months of scandals, sticky questions and ugly Congressional confrontations over his behavior.
Trump seems to be so happy with the job Pruitt has done at EPA unraveling years of environmental protections, eliminating rules that protect the water and air and giving business whatever concessions they want that he is happy to keep him in place.
“I’m not happy about certain things, I’ll be honest,” Trump told reporters on the North Lawn of the White House, reports CNN. “I’m not happy about certain things. But he’s done a fantastic job running the EPA, which is very overriding.”
The latest emerging scandal surrounding Pruitt has to do with “secret calendars and schedules” that Pruitt and his aides kept for months.
They would use the public and secret calendars to discuss and decide which industry representatives and others who met with them to include in the mandatory public disclosures.
— CNN (@CNN) July 3, 2018
CNN reviews EPA documents and reported it “found discrepancies between Pruitt’s official calendar and other records”
If that is true, CNN reports that he could be guilty of falsifying records or hiding public records, both of which are crimes.
While some inside the White House would like to see Pruitt and the distractions he causes gone, Trump continues to support him no matter what happens, at least so far.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 3, 2018
Trump has said before that loyalty is the most important thing to him, apparently even when it doesn’t match up with the facts, and Pruitt is loyal to the president if nothing else.
So for now even the new calendar scandal or the other investigations do not appear to be enough to cost him his high profile job, at least until Trump tweets otherwise.