STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30900

Reported Deaths: 1111
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds249840
DeSoto159416
Madison130034
Jones112449
Neshoba98871
Rankin93412
Harrison91211
Lauderdale90979
Forrest86942
Scott77115
Jackson62216
Copiah60215
Washington5849
Leake57819
Holmes55341
Lee54718
Wayne54513
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51518
Yazoo5096
Leflore48751
Grenada4835
Lowndes48313
Lincoln46034
Lamar4587
Pike43112
Monroe40130
Lafayette3914
Sunflower3727
Attala36023
Covington3565
Panola3506
Newton3399
Bolivar33414
Simpson3173
Adams31118
Pontotoc2866
Tate28310
Marion28111
Chickasaw27718
Claiborne27410
Noxubee2638
Jasper2626
Winston2616
Pearl River25432
Clay25010
Marshall2323
Smith21811
Clarke20724
Union2079
Coahoma2016
Walthall1995
Kemper17914
Lawrence1772
Yalobusha1707
Carroll16511
Humphreys1479
Tallahatchie1364
Itawamba1358
Montgomery1322
Calhoun1304
Tippah13011
Hancock12813
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George883
Tishomingo801
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn692
Perry664
Stone651
Franklin452
Sharkey370
Benton360
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 44375

Reported Deaths: 984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
Etowah73913
DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
Tallapoosa59169
Russell5520
Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
Conecuh2097
Randolph2069
Choctaw19512
Macon1949
Bibb1901
Greene1868
Perry1771
Henry1343
Crenshaw1253
Washington1097
Lawrence1080
Cherokee977
Geneva800
Lamar771
Fayette701
Clay652
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 93°
Columbus
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 98°
Oxford
Few Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 94°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 90°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather