porScott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), spoke with the president and asked him to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and allow him to run the Department of Justice, according to CNN. Pruitt proposed that President Trump allow him to “temporarily” replace the attorney general under the Vacancies Reform Act, which gives the president the power to fill a seat within a federal agency if the person holding that office dies, leaves office, or shows they are not able to “perform the functions and duties of the office.” Pruitt’s plan was to replace Sessions for 210 days, then return to Oklahoma where he would run for office. The alleged request occurred after Sessions recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation last spring, something that deeply frustrated President Trump.
Though the president denied Pruitt’s request, he has been vocal about his frustration with Sessions and his recusal and has even “floated replacing Sessions with Pruitt as recently as April.”
Reports of Pruitt’s request come at a time when the EPA administrator is embroiled in a number of scandals, from an incident in which he was confronted by a woman at a restaurant in Washington, D.C., to reports from his own aides who detail his “alleged unethical practices,” according to Vox. According to a report from The Washington Post, Pruitt aides state that the EPA administrator frequently travels first class, broke a lease agreement and requested his aides review the lease to look for loopholes to avoid penalties, and neglected to reimburse $600 to one of his aides who paid for a hotel room for Pruitt and his wife on her personal credit card, according to Vox.
The Washington Post reports that Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick allegedly “cautioned Pruitt before and after he had assumed the helm of the EPA that his spending could lead to ethics problems and that he should curb it.”
In a June interview, President Trump was asked if there was any plan to fire the EPA administrator given the numerous scandals that plague him. Though he said he felt that Pruitt was doing a “fantastic job,” he still told reporters “I’m not happy about certain things, I’ll be honest. I’m not happy about certain things. But he’s done a fantastic job running the EPA, which is very overriding. But I am not happy about it.”
It was reported Monday that Pruitt and his staff “keep secret calendars and schedules” and “discuss which meetings and calls with industry representatives and others to include or omit from their publicly released calendar.” There are as many as 14 federal probes that Pruitt currently faces.