Scott Pruitt on Wednesday contradicted an internal email from his former security chief that said the embattled Environmental Protection Agency administrator encouraged the use of lights and sirens for non-emergency situations while traveling in a motorcade.
During a Capitol Hill hearing on the agency’s budget, Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, raised the issue of a former special agent who worked on Pruitt’s protection team who claimed he was demoted when he refused to drive with lights and sirens blaring through the streets of Washington.
“Let’s get the record straight: Did your security detail use sirens while you were in the car for non-emergencies, yes or no?” Udall asked Pruitt, who is at the center of a dozen investigations, reviews and audits.
Pruitt replied that the “policies were followed to the best of my knowledge by each of the agents that serve me.”
When Udall pressed him again, Pruitt said he did not recall and that policies were followed by his agents “in all instances.”
The Democrat senator followed up for a third time: “You personally requested that on a number of trips?” he asked Pruitt.
“No, I don’t recall that happening,” Pruitt said.
Udall then pointed to an internal email from Pruitt’s former security chief that contradicts Pruitt’s testimony.
In a February 2017 email released Wednesday by Democratic Sens. Tom Carper and Sheldon Whitehouse, EPA security chief Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta told others at the agency that Pruitt “encourages the use” of lights and sirens. Perrotta has since resigned.
A letter from the agency’s inspector general also contradicted Pruitt and the EPA’s claim that the need for a 24/7 security detail was a response to an assessment of death threats against him.
CNN’s Greg Wallace and Rene Marsh contributed to this report.