‘Fox & Friends’ discussed script, asked pre-interview questions to Trump EPA chief: report

‘Fox & Friends’ discussed script, asked pre-interview questions to Trump EPA chief: report
© Greg Nash

Producers at "Fox & Friends" provided pre-interview questions to former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Trump administration to repeal waterway protections The Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks MORE and provided his team with discussion topics in advance, according to emails obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request by an environmental group.

Emails obtained by the Sierra Club and shared with The Daily Beast show that producers at Fox News contacted Pruitt's team last year for an interview on the Fox morning show. They then show that, in a series of emails, Pruitt's team directly approved a script used by Fox hosts to introduce the administrator and discussed the topics that would be allowed in the interview.

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Further emails show that Pruitt was given pre-interview questions, a standard practice in cable news for lesser-known guests that is rarely extended to public figures or elected officials.

“Would this be okay as the setup to his segment?” producer Dianna Aloi asks in one email containing a piece of script later used by host Brian Kilmeade to introduce Pruitt on the show.

Aloi also sent Pruitt's office a request for the “top three priorities ... for the EPA that Mr. Pruitt would like to discuss specifically,” according to the emails.

According to The Daily Beast, six of the eight questions Pruitt was asked during the interview directly related to pre-interview questions or topics discussed with Pruitt's team ahead of time, though the questions were not asked verbatim. Another question, about EPA gym memberships, was reportedly pitched previously by producers at the Fox Business Network as an interview topic the previous day.

A spokeswoman for Fox News told The Hill that what occurred between the show's producers and EPA staffers "is not standard practice whatsoever and the matter is being addressed internally with those involved."

Pruitt resigned in July of this year after battling several high-profile scandals related to his spending and management of EPA resources. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE replaced him with acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former energy lobbyist.

“It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring,” Pruitt wrote Trump at the time, announcing his resignation.

“However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us,” he added.