Thursday, July 5, 2018

Getting Out, Scott Free

If there were any more turnovers in the Trump regime, they'd have to hire Karl Malone.

Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, resigned after facing months of allegations over legal and ethical violations.

Mr. Trump announced the resignation in a tweet on Thursday in which he thanked Mr. Pruitt for an “outstanding job” and said the agency’s deputy, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, would take over as the acting administrator on Monday. In his resignation letter, Mr. Pruitt cited “unrelenting attacks on me personally” as one of the reasons for his departure, an apparent reference to the numerous investigations into his stewardship of the agency.

Mr. Pruitt had been hailed as a hero among conservatives for his zealous deregulation, but he could not overcome a spate of ethics questions about his alleged spending abuses, first-class travel and cozy relationships with lobbyists. Earlier on Thursday, The New York Times reported on new questions about whether aides to Mr. Pruitt had deleted sensitive information about his meetings from his public schedule, potentially in violation of the law.Mr. Pruitt also came under fire for enlisting aides to obtain special favors for him and his family, such as reaching out to the chief executive of Chick-fil-A, Dan T. Cathy, with the intent of helping Mr. Pruitt’s wife, Marlyn, open a franchise of the restaurant.

Reminder: he's almost certainly going to be indicted soon.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly told associates that Mr. Pruitt has done what he has wanted in terms of cutting regulations, so he has been reluctant to let him go. Mr. Pruitt has made himself available to the president as a confidant as well as a possible next attorney general.

But White House advisers for months have implored Mr. Trump to get rid of Mr. Pruitt, including his chief of staff, John F. Kelly. Ultimately, the president grew disillusioned with Mr. Pruitt after a cascade of accusations of impropriety and ethical missteps overshadowed Mr. Pruitt’s policy achievements.

In recent days, people who have spoken with Mr. Trump said he sounds exasperated with his EPA administrator’s negative headlines. “It’s one thing after another with this guy,” one person close to Mr. Trump quoted the president as saying.


The real reason Pruitt was fired?

Mr. Pruitt is the subject of at least 13 federal investigations, and a government watchdog agency concluded that he had broken the law with his purchase of a $43,000 secure telephone booth. He was also under investigation for his 2017 lease of a bedroom in a condominium linked to a Canadian energy company’s powerful Washington lobbying firm, and for accusations that he demoted or sidelined E.P.A. employees who questioned his actions.

Of course, there is that whole "wants to be Trump's Supreme Court pick" thing.  Who knows.

By the way, you can argue that Pruitt's immediate replacement will actually be worse because Pruitt's deputy, Andrew Wheeler, is just as awful, but nowhere near as blatantly greedy.

We're still very screwed on climate change.

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