EPA's Pruitt sinking deeper into a rut

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before

Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that he supported Pruitt, and said the official's travel and security expenses were reasonable.

"Scott Pruitt has received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA", Trump wrote.

Pruitt suggested the lobbyist whose wife rented him the $50 a night condo - well below market rates - had been a friend for years, but the lobbyist suggested they were only casual acquaintances.

A case in point is the media-fueled targeting of "embattled" EPA chief Scott Pruitt who, in a constantly revolving cast of villains in the Trump administration, has latterly emerged as Public Enemy No. 1, always excepting the president himself. Pruitt has compared this arrangement to cheap rentals on Airbnb or Craiglist, saying that he paid $50 a night - but as Oliver and his team proved, $50 a night doesn't get you very far on Washington, D.C. rental sites.

The Democrats also obtained a February 14 assessment from EPA's Office of Homeland Security Intelligence that concluded "EPA Intelligence has not identified any specific, credible, direct threat to the EPA administrator".

The Carper-Whitehouse letter cites a memo from William Stull, special agent on Pruitt's private security detail, to Nino Perrotta, the detail's special agent in charge, which summarizes available threat information and shows 16 threats directed against Pruitt.

Almost three dozen EPA security and law enforcement agents were assigned to Pruitt, according to a summary of six weeks of weekly schedules obtained by Democratic Sen.

The author of that "implied threat" sent Pruitt a postcard and later apologized to EPA agents for doing so.

It notes, among other things, that in Pruitt's "eagerness to hold high-profile political events promoting his agenda", the man who now leads the EPA has often "been less than rigorous in following important procedures, leading to poorly crafted legal efforts that risk being struck down in court".

Pruitt has done a fantastic job of proving that dark ingenuity can exploit well-intentioned legislation - by using an obscure water-safety law that lets the EPA head make crisis hires without White House or Senate approval to instead hire spokesmen, schedulers and former lobbyists.

In justifying his constant security, EPA officials have said he has received far more threats than previous administrators - some of them "very personal, ugly threats", an assistant inspector general told The Post past year.

Chmielewski, who is on administrative leave without pay, is one of several EPA officials who departed or were reassigned after raising concerns about how Pruitt and his deputies operated.

She too called for congressional oversight but declined to offer an opinion on whether Pruitt should resign or be fired.

"EPA Intelligence has not identified any specific credible direct threat to the EPA Administrator", the memo states, as described by the senators.

Jackson's statement, first reported by The Atlantic, came in response to a Monday report in the magazine that an internal EPA email from Greenwalt stated that Pruitt personally approved of her raise. There also are ongoing investigations into his outsized travel spending and purchase of a $43,000 soundproof phone booth.

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