Trump Told EPA Chief Scott Pruitt 'We Have Your Back'

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced on Tuesday that his agency was rolling back Obama-era fuel efficiency and emissions standards for automobiles, calling the move another step in President Trump's "regulatory agenda".

Asked to comment on Curbelo's remarks about Pruitt, EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox sent a statement defending the administrator's rental. Former Trump transition chief Chris Christie said Pruitt "should've never been there in the first place".

Between July and September, Hupp corresponded with a real estate company and on some evenings and weekends went to view properties for rent or sale, according to two of the individuals.

"He is trying so hard to please the President", the official said. "From cozying up to industry insiders, to wasting taxpayer dollars and breaking ethical norms, Americans can not trust Pruitt and he should resign immediately", the Democratic National Committee said in a statement. "Administrator Pruitt and his wife looked at numerous housing options".

"Whether Mr. Pruitt and his daughter paid market rate is one of several questions important to determining whether the living arrangement constituted a gift from a lobbyist - a potential violation of ethics rules", Whitehouse, a member of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, wrote.

"There's a general prohibition against misusing government resources, and employees are government resources", Fox said. Pruitt has faced ongoing criticism and inquiries from government watchdogs and members of both parties on Capitol Hill.

The announcement is the latest in a series of moves by Trump and Pruitt to dismantle Barack Obama's environmental legacy, moves that have drawn some scrutiny for their pace and breadth.

Separately, the District of Columbia's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs said on Twitter it would investigate whether the condo was approved to be rented on per-night basis, which is how Pruitt paid for his lodging.

The president told reporters on Tuesday of Mr Pruitt, "I hope he does well".

The news comes as the scandals surrounding Pruitt continue to multiply.

Some conservative groups are pressing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to get rid of the waiver that allows California to set its own rules. CBS News first reported on the calls.

The Post noted in its report that Hupp "was one of two EPA employees who recently received significant raises, despite a lack of White House approval". In that role, she solicited donations to his political coffers and scheduled fundraising meetings and travel for him.

The Senate confirmed Pruitt previous year by a vote of 52-46.

Sarah Greenwalt worked as Pruitt's general counsel when he served as attorney general in Oklahoma. Her salary jumped more than 52 percent, from $107,435 to $164,200.

The White House is "looking into" Pruitt's housing situation, a person familiar with the matter told CNN on Monday.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.

The two staffers suddenly in the spotlight both accompanied Pruitt on his trips to Italy and Morocco past year.

ABC News and Bloomberg News reported last week that in his first six months in Washington past year, Pruitt made a deal to pay about $50 a night - less than a third the price of similar properties - to rent a room in a Capitol Hill neighborhood condo building co-owned by energy industry lobbyist Steven Hart and his wife. Pruitt's lease, however, required him to pay just for nights he occupied in the unit.

  • Jon Douglas