The reason President Trump hasn’t yet fired EPA administrator Scott Pruitt despite a mountain of embarrassing corruption scandals has now become abundantly clear.
On Tuesday, CNN reported that Pruitt — the former Attorney General of Oklahoma — has been lobbying Trump to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and allow Pruitt to replace him as the new head of the Department of Justice.
According to three anonymous sources close to the discussions who asked CNN to withhold their names, Scott Pruitt reportedly proposed replacing Sessions for just 210 days under the Vacancies Reform Act, before Pruitt left Washington to run for office in Oklahoma. The next U.S. Senate election in Oklahoma is in 2020, meaning Pruitt may have planned from transitioning from being the head of the EPA to becoming Attorney General of the United States, giving him an impressive resume prior to running for U.S. Senate.
Most notably, as Attorney General, Scott Pruitt would be able to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, since Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation and hasn’t yet fired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. And since Pruitt has already been confirmed by the senate, he would be able to coast into the role without being held up in the confirmation process.
Trump may be keeping Scott Pruitt in his back pocket for this exact scheme, given that Pruitt has still maintained his position as EPA administrator despite being plagued by constant scandals. A recent Washington Post report detailed how Pruitt used his position to get EPA employees to help his wife get a $200,000/year job with the Republican Attorneys General Association (which he used to lead), and how Pruitt used EPA resources in a personal dispute with a landlord in Washington, DC.
As of this writing, neither Trump nor Pruitt have spoken publicly about the CNN report.
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.