President Trump said Thursday evening that there was "no final straw" that led embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to tender his resignation earlier in the afternoon, insisting that stepping down was "very much up to him. ... Look, Scott is a terrific guy. And he came to me and he said 'I have such great confidence in the administration. I don't want to be a distraction.' And I think Scott felt that he was a distraction." Few others in Trump's orbit subscribe to that story line.
"In fact, Trump had begun to grow tired of the torrent of negative news stories about Pruitt and had come to believe they were a distraction that wouldn't go away," Politico reports, citing an administration official. "Pruitt, who believes he has a strong personal relationship with Trump, has told allies repeatedly in recent months that he wasn't worried about his job, insisting that the president had his back." In the end, The Washington Post adds, citing two administration officials, "Trump forced Pruitt out Thursday without speaking to him — instead having his chief of staff call the Environmental Protection Agency around midday to say it was time for Pruitt to go."
Trump has sounded increasingly "exasperated with his EPA administrator's negative headlines," The New York Times reports, especially an embarrassing report this week that Pruitt directly lobbied him for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' job, and "fresh allegations that Mr. Pruitt had retroactively altered his public schedule, potentially committing a federal crime, had also escalated concerns about him at the White House." Times reporter Maggie Haberman told CNN Thursday evening Pruitt was essentially fired by "staff around the president." Watch her sources' version of Pruitt's ouster below. Peter Weber
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