Scott Pruitt cost taxpayers $3 million in security fees

Asked if Trump had confidence in Pruitt White House press secretary Sarah Sanders responded'The president thinks that he's done a good job particularly on the deregulation front

Kelly and other White House aides are frustrated by the steady drip of negative press Pruitt is attracting over a seemingly below-market lease on an apartment owned by the wife of a leading lobbyist; reports that he instructed his security detail to use emergency lights and sirens to beat traffic; and the continuing fallout from his use of private and first-class air travel a year ago.

In addition, The Atlantic reported that Pruitt had bypassed the White House to give two top aides, Sarah Greenwalt and Millan Hupp, substantial pay raises.

Publicly, Trump has offered praise for Pruitt, telling reporters Thursday that he had confidence in the embattled EPA chief and calling him "very courageous" amid a barrage of damaging revelations.

White House officials said Friday that Trump continues to believe that Pruitt has been effective in his role, and stressed that it was up to the president alone to decide his fate. It also emerged that Pruitt was late with some of his rent payments for a room in that Capitol Hill condo.

She said the White House, which has been conducting an internal investigation into Pruitt's conduct, was "continuing to review any of the concerns that we have".

It's rare in Donald Trump's Washington for anyone to outshine the President.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt reportedly spent $3 million in taxpayer dollars on security, according to an Associated Press report.

The EPA official said there are legitimate concerns about Pruitt's safety, given public opposition to his rollbacks of anti-pollution measures. "It hasn't been easy, but I think he's done a fantastic job", Trump said.

However, that official told The Wall Street Journal, Trump is not ready to remove him given Pruitt's success in pushing the president's deregulatory agenda. Yet the White House canceled an announcement event where the two were to appear together.

Conservatives have rallied around Pruitt.

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"He likes the work product", she said of Trump.

Several other Trump appointees, including Housing and Urban Development head Ben Carson and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, have also faced questions about their expenditures and behavior. But it comes at a time when Pruitt is relying on an increasingly narrow set of advisers to make decisions.

Those schedules show multiple EPA security agents accompanied Pruitt on a family vacation to California that featured a day at Disneyland and a New Year's Day football game where his home state Oklahoma Sooners were playing in the Rose Bowl.

Pruitt has come under criticism as well for taking first-class flights and having a 24-hour security detail, which his predecessors did not have.

Pruitt has sat for a series of interviews, largely with conservative news outlets, to defend himself - though even supporters acknowledge he did himself no favors with a Fox News interview this week in which he seemed unable to fend off some of the allegations.

In the interview Wednesday, Pruitt implied he was not involved in those decisions. "But I'll take a look at it". Privately, many senior White House aides have become infuriated with the EPA chief and exasperated with his ethical lapses, believing that it is only a matter of time before his special standing with the president wears thin. But several EPA officials have confirmed that Pruitt's adult daughter stayed in a second bedroom for a period when she was working at the White House. Minoli described that as "a reasonable market value". But that official said in a report obtained by CNN that he was not given all of the facts when making that determination.

"Some have raised questions whether the actual use of the space was consistent with the terms of the lease", Minoli wrote.

He also clarified that he did not examine whether Pruitt's arrangement violated the impartiality rule, which would have prohibited the administrator from having any dealings with other employees at Vicki Hart's lobbying firm.

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"It was like an Airbnb scenario once I was not there the owner they'd entry to the whole thing of the power", Pruitt stated. "Advice that's given by an ethics official is only as good as the information that's provided". This week, the committee was provided two memos from the EPA's designated ethics official related to the administrator's living arrangements, the aide said.

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