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 to make formal decision on regulating drinking water contaminant | Utility to close coal plant despite Trump plea | Greens say climate is high on 2020 voters’ minds EPA to announce PFAS chemical regulation plans by end of year Court tosses challenge to EPA's exclusion of certain scientists from advisory boards MORE disputed a report Monday that he asked President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE directly to fire Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight The Memo: Trump and McCabe go to war McCabe book: Sessions once said FBI was better off when it 'only hired Irishmen' 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.