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Pruitt fears White House undermining him ahead of hearings

Embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt believes members of the administration are actively tryi...

Posted: Apr 26, 2018 2:17 PM
Updated: Apr 26, 2018 2:17 PM

Embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt believes members of the administration are actively trying to get rid of him, two sources with knowledge of the situation tell CNN. The mounting acrimony spurred Pruitt's to reject offers from the White House to help him prepare for his expected grilling on Capitol Hill Thursday.

Pruitt and his staff have blamed the White House, in part, for several of the leaks of damaging information about him. In recent days, they rejected offers from the White House press shop to prepare for his hearings because they don't think the staff can be trusted not to leak information about the prep session.

Pruitt was incredibly frustrated, one source said, after Bloomberg reported that White House officials were advising Republicans to temper their support of Pruitt.

This reveals the disconnect between the embattled EPA chief and the rest of the administration. Pruitt is under the impression that the only person who fully supports him is President Donald Trump as he comes under fire for multiple ethics scandals and faces a harsh grilling on Capitol Hill.

The EPA administrator continues to weather a growing number of news reports about ethically questionable actions, including such issues as the size and cost of his 24-hour security detail, and a meeting he held with a lobbyist while renting a $50-a-night Capitol Hill room from the lobbyist's wife.

The President has continued to ardently defend him in private. Though Trump concedes that the swirling negative headlines aren't good, he often remarks that there is "no way" he would get someone as good as Pruitt confirmed. Another reason Trump has yet to turn on Pruitt is what he's hearing from friends and advisers in the oil and gas industry, such as Harold Hamm, a long-time energy mogul, who has urged him to leave Pruitt in place.

But Pruitt has lost the confidence of most members of the senior staff, several of who have conceded privately that they aren't defending Pruitt for fear that another damaging story will break. Many aides now view the EPA administrator as an unnecessary problem who has only made matters worse for himself by ignoring White House offers to help him remedy the situation, according to people familiar with the matter.

The White House and the EPA declined a CNN request for comment.

Though Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump once advocated for Pruitt in the early days of the administration, both have questioned what happened to him. White House chief of staff John Kelly has not changed his view that Pruitt should go, but hasn't continued to press the case with the President as investigations remain ongoing.

Most senior aides believe those probes, which include the White House Counsel's office, will not exonerate Pruitt. To the contrary, most of Trump's top advisers believe they will provide a damning account of his actions as administrator.

Pruitt's saving grace remains his record at the EPA, which his backers have worked to talk up to Trump when they speak with him. That is what has saved him up until now. But a rocky televised appearance on Capitol Hill could change that, officials said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 20573

Reported Deaths: 878
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin6918534
Ramsey231697
Stearns192312
Nobles14572
Anoka116455
Dakota105935
Olmsted55110
Washington50626
Kandiyohi4541
Clay36623
Rice3652
Scott3462
Wright2401
Sherburne2081
Todd1970
Benton1662
Carver1612
Mower1501
Steele1400
Martin1245
Blue Earth1121
St. Louis11113
Pine850
Freeborn840
Winona7715
Carlton730
Nicollet683
Cottonwood620
Polk582
Otter Tail550
Itasca527
Goodhue522
Watonwan500
Chisago481
Dodge430
Meeker420
Crow Wing421
Le Sueur411
Chippewa400
Jackson390
Morrison380
Murray350
Becker320
Lyon310
Douglas290
McLeod260
Isanti250
Waseca240
Rock210
Unassigned199
Fillmore171
Mille Lacs161
Wabasha160
Swift150
Sibley120
Beltrami120
Wilkin113
Norman110
Kanabec111
Cass113
Faribault110
Brown112
Pipestone100
Marshall80
Pennington70
Pope70
Aitkin60
Wadena60
Yellow Medicine50
Koochiching50
Lincoln50
Mahnomen51
Renville50
Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Big Stone30
Redwood30
Traverse30
Grant20
Houston20
Clearwater20
Hubbard10
Kittson10
Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17227

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3714108
Woodbury255524
Black Hawk167639
Linn92775
Marshall86611
Dallas84914
Johnson5987
Muscatine54339
Wapello5004
Crawford4772
Tama39023
Louisa3347
Scott3319
Dubuque31916
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2310
Pottawattamie2106
Sioux1990
Washington1798
Allamakee1184
Wright1170
Plymouth1080
Warren1060
Story941
Poweshiek888
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Boone540
Des Moines531
Mahaska526
Cedar451
Guthrie433
Taylor370
Benton371
Jones360
Monroe334
Iowa320
Clarke320
Osceola320
Shelby310
Buchanan310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Fayette260
Hamilton260
Madison241
Monona230
Cerro Gordo221
Lee220
Winneshiek210
Davis200
Lyon190
Grundy190
Harrison190
Floyd181
Jefferson150
Cherokee150
Butler150
Mills140
Delaware140
Humboldt130
Sac130
Greene130
Keokuk130
Hardin130
Howard120
Hancock120
Appanoose123
Audubon111
Jackson110
Cass110
Ida100
Page100
Clay100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Van Buren80
Franklin80
Dickinson80
Adair80
Chickasaw80
Kossuth70
Emmet70
Lucas60
Montgomery60
Union60
Adams50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Pocahontas40
Mitchell40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
Unassigned30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur00
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