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CNN panel breaks down laughing while discussing Pruitt allegations

A panel of CNN commentators burst out laughing Friday during a discussion involving Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt's reported "beyond laughable" corruption.

The group was discussing a series of reports regarding Pruitt's high travel expenses and other controversies surrounding the department head's ethics when panelists broke down in laughter over a Thursday report published by The Atlantic.

The report claimed that a member of Pruitt's press team was trying to shop negative stories about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to the press in an effort deflect attention from his boss.

"I mean, come on!" CNN host John King said with a laugh.

CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins said it appeared as if there's nothing Pruitt could do to cost him his job.

"This guy has like nine lives," Collins said.

King asked viewers at home to close their eyes and imagine what would happen if an EPA administrator in another administration behaved like Pruitt.

"If this were any other administration, never mind if Hillary Clinton were president, and the EPA had 11 investigations, daily headlines and the Republicans are crickets on this," King said.

Only a few GOP lawmakers have commented on Pruitt's scandals, King said.

The panel said donors and supporters of President Trump are standing by Pruitt because they approve of his efforts to cut Obama-era regulations.

"What has saved Pruitt up until now is this sense that he is accomplishing more than any other Cabinet secretary on the agenda," New York Times reporter Michael Shear said.

But even that feeling is "beginning to fray around the edges," Shear said.

"You begin to think, first of all, will all the investigations hamper any futures efforts that he could do to promote the deregulatory agenda," Shear said. "And is he sort of making mistakes along the way, legally and other ways, that's going to undermine what he's already done?"

As Pruitt faces intense scrutiny for questionable expenditures and other ethical practices, his department is facing a period of rapid departures, losing four aides in the past five days.

Pruitt appeared before House lawmakers last month to defend himself. He is scheduled to testify before a Senate panel later this month, CNN reported.

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