Embattled EPA administrator faces Congress

By Meg Wagner and Brian Ries, CNN

Updated 4:25 p.m. ET, April 26, 2018
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4:25 p.m. ET, April 26, 2018

Our live coverage has ended. Read the posts below to see how Pruitt's day on Capitol Hill unfolded.

3:42 p.m. ET, April 26, 2018

Congresswoman: "Mr. Pruitt, I think it's time that you resign"

Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, urged EPA head Scott Pruitt to step down from his role.

"I'm going to say it to you clearly and straight to you because I think you deserve that. But Mr. Pruitt, I think it's time that you resign."

2:47 p.m. ET, April 26, 2018

Pruitt says someone threatened to put a bullet between his eyes

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, reading from a report provided to him by the EPA inspector general, detailed two of the death threats he says he's received. He said those threats have justified, in part, his expensive security detail.

Both the threats Pruitt read came via Facebook — one was sent to his son and another referenced him directly.

The second one read in part: "Pruitt I’m going to find you and put a bullet between your eyes. Don’t think I’m joking. I’m planning this."

2:43 p.m. ET, April 26, 2018

Pruitt: I've gotten more and worse threats than other EPA administrators

Addressing his controversial first-class travel, EPA chief Scott Pruitt said the changes to his travel were made because he's recieved an "unprecedented" amount of threats.

"That was something that was predicated upon a security assessment," he said. "The inspector general has noticed that the threats against me have been unprecedented compared to previous administrators, as it related to the number and also the type of threats. And that dictated the changes that were made in my travel"

Watch more:

2:29 p.m. ET, April 26, 2018

Congresswoman says EPA budget is "reckless, irresponsible and unrealistic"

Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, started her opening remarks by criticizing the 2019 budget budget for the EPA

"FY2019 EPA budget is reckless, irresponsible and unrealistic."

She also brought up the barrage of scandals surrounding EPA head Scott Pruitt.

“You're letting the American people down, and you’re letting your agency down," she said.

Watch more:

2:12 p.m. ET, April 26, 2018

Up next: Pruitt goes before the House Appropriations committee

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, spent the morning appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Now, he heads to the House Appropriations committee.

He is scheduled to talk about the budget, but he'll likely receive scrutiny from Democrats — and potentially some Republicans — over a long list of decisions that have landed him in the headlines.

1:37 p.m. ET, April 26, 2018

Democratic congressman to Pruitt: "You’ve become the poster child for the abuse of public trust"

Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland, said EPA head Scott Pruitt is the “poster child for the abuse of public trust.”

"You have really become — I mean, it’s sad to say it — but you’ve become in many respects, and you ought to take this to heart as somebody who holds an office in the public trust. Unfortunately, you’ve become the poster child for the abuse of public trust."

Watch more:

12:58 p.m. ET, April 26, 2018

EPA officials were shocked at Pruitt's raise admission

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt admitted Thursday that he authorized his chief of staff to give pay raises to two of his closest aides, contradicting claims he made in an interview just weeks earlier.

Pruitt said during a congressional hearing Thursday that he was only unaware of the amount of the raises and the process by which they were approved, though he had told Fox News earlier this month he had no knowledge at all of the raises.

"I did not know that they got the pay raises until yesterday," Pruitt said in the Fox News interview, referring to public reports about the raises.

He had also told Fox that he did not know who had approved the raise.

Several senior EPA officials reacted in shock Thursday. One EPA official told CNN that a sense of "a collective 'Oh sh**' came out of EPA HQ" when Pruitt admitted he knew of the raises.

Aides for weeks knew that Pruitt had lied in his Fox News interview, but were stunned that he contradicted himself so publicly on Thursday.

12:55 p.m. ET, April 26, 2018

Pruitt refuses to answer if he'll reimburse taxpayers for his first-class travel

Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo asked EPA head Scott Pruitt if he'd reimburse American taxpayers for his first-class travel. He didn't exactly answer it.

Pruitt began: "We can provide you with analysis that occurred..."

But Eshoo cut him off. Here's how the rest of the exchange went down:

Eshoo: "I don't need any analysis. I know what airline tickets cost to fly across the country every week. So are you going to — you didn't answer my question. I asked you if you're going to reimburse the taxpayers for the overage ... what are you going to do about it?"

Pruitt: "The travel office and the security team determine where I sit on a plane. And all trips that I have taken, in respect to EPA dollars, have been for official trips."

Eshoo: "Well, you know what? With all due respect, I may be elected, but I'm not a fool. That's really a lousy answer from someone that has a high position in the federal government. I mean, This is not dodge question day."