We may have—finally—arrived at peak Scott Pruitt. The EPA administrator, who is already well known for flouting any semblance of ethical behavior in his quest for perks and quid pro quos, had the audacity to pitch himself as a suitable replacement for permanent resident in the Trump doghouse, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. That’s according to CNN’s reporting, which cites three sources saying Pruitt cut out the middle man and appealed directly to Trump himself to swap his job for the top job at the Department of Justice.
There are, of course, a number of problems/absurdities with this hypothetical switcheroo. One of which is the Senate, namely Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, have taken a hard line with the Trump administration on Sessions’ job security. If Sessions goes, don’t expect a new nominee to get confirmed, the stated threat goes. To skirt this teensy weensy problem, good old resourceful Scott Pruitt suggested, selflessly, that he would take Sessions job temporarily under Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which would allow him to take the the AG role for up to 210 days without needing to be confirmed. At that point, like a good public servant, he would step aside and go back to Oklahoma to run for office (and definitely not cash in as a lobbyist). That was reportedly the offer.
The Trump team, CNN’s sources say, considered the offer, but turned it down. So close, Scott! So ends the horrifying daydream of what kind of damage seven months of Scott Pruitt as attorney general of the United States would bring. It seems pretty likely that part of the deal offered by Pruitt—or at least mulled by Trump allies—is that the ethically-challenged federal employee would shut down the Mueller investigation. That’s Trump’s problem with Sessions after all, that he recused himself from all things Russia and now can’t do the president’s bidding to disrupt the investigation into Trump’s Russia ties.
Pruitt, for his part, has denied scheming to swipe Sessions’ job. “This report is simply false,” Pruitt told CNN. “General Sessions and I are friends and I have always said I want nothing more than to see him succeed in his role.” Pruitt currently has more than a dozen federal probes into his conduct while in office, but despite treating the U.S. Treasury like his own personal petty cash, Trump, inexplicably, appears to love the guy. “I’m not happy about certain things, I’ll be honest,” Trump told reporters in June. “But he’s done a fantastic job running the EPA, which is very overriding…”
But how overriding? We may soon find out.
Uh oh, the Fox News shadow cabinet has spoken. And once you’ve lost a primetime Fox News host, that spells trouble in this tv version of a presidency.