Pruitt denies he asked Trump to fire Sessions, make him AG

Pruitt denies he asked Trump to fire Sessions, make him AG
© Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog says agency failed to properly monitor asbestos at schools| Watchdog won’t investigate former Superfund head’s qualifications| Florence causes toxic coal ash spill in North Carolina White House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report Trump’s EPA chooses coal over the American people MORE disputed a report Monday that he asked President TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE directly to fire Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill’s 12:30 Report — Kavanaugh accuser willing to testify | Kavanaugh denies allegations, says he’s willing to testify | 50 days from the midterms Ken Starr backs Mueller, says president 'must be held accountable' The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE and be named his replacement. 

“This report is simply false. General Sessions and I are friends and I have always said I want nothing more than to see him succeed in his role,” Pruitt said in a statement to The Hill. 

Pruitt responded after CNN published a report Tuesday evening that said the EPA head appealed directly to Trump to appoint him to run the Justice Department. The request reportedly came during a meeting in the Oval Office this spring.

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According to CNN, Pruitt argued that if Trump fired Sessions, he could run the Justice Department for 120 days under the Vacancies Reform Act, and then run for office in Oklahoma. 

The news outlet reported that Trump’s advisers turned Pruitt down. 

The president has frequently chided Sessions over his decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump has gone as far as to say he wishes he did not appoint Sessions attorney general. 

Pruitt, meanwhile, has been embroiled in a growing number of ethical scandals. The former Oklahoma attorney general has faced criticism for racking up millions of dollars worth of costs in security and travel expenses.

He also caught flak for renting a Capitol Hill condo from the wife of a lobbyist for $50 a night, for seeking to help get his wife a Chick-fil-A franchise or other job, and for having staffers buy him personal items.

The White House said Tuesday that Trump is "looking into" the numerous reports about Pruitt's behavior.

"We don’t have any announcement to make," spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters on Air Force One.

“There is no timeline but obviously the reports are troublesome," he added.

Kevin Minoli, the top ethics official at the EPA, wrote last week to the Office of Government Ethics to request a series of independent investigations into Pruitt's various controversies.

Updated at 8:05 p.m.