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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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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We are starting off cold once again this morning with temperatures in the 30's, some below freezing and with a slight north wind it is feeling even colder. High pressure builds back into our area today with more sunshine.
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