Washington (CNN)In the wake of reports that he bypassed the White House to give large pay raises to two aides, embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is conceding the raises "should not have happened," while denying that he was aware the raises were given out in the first place.
EPA's Pruitt says pay raises for aides 'should not have happened'
In a clip of an interview with Fox News' Ed Henry that aired on Wednesday, Pruitt pushed back against the assertion that he granted the raises, which combined were over $80,000.
After Henry asked: "If you're committed to the Trump agenda, why did you go around the President and the White House and give pay raises to two staffers?" Pruitt interjected: "I did not."
"My staff did and I found out about that yesterday and I changed it," Pruitt told Fox News. When Henry asked if somebody would be fired over it, Pruitt replied: "There will be some accountability on that."
"We are in the process of finding out how it took place and correcting that," the EPA administrator said.
When asked if he knew of the raises, Pruitt said, "I did not know that they got the pay raises until yesterday."
Earlier this week, The Atlantic reported that Pruitt requested pay raises for "two of his closest aides," in March, a request the White House declined, according to a source with knowledge of the discussion. EPA then used an obscure provision to give the staffers, Sarah Greenwalt and Millan Hupp, the raises.
Pruitt is facing criticism and controversy over reports that he rented a room in Washington, DC, from the family of an energy lobbyist. CNN has reported that senior White House aides are frustrated with the administrator as a result of the controversy, but according to an administration official, President Donald Trump called Pruitt on Monday evening to tell him to "keep fighting."