President Donald Trump reportedly floated replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as recently as this week, despite a continuing avalanche of negative headlines about Pruitt.
According to a CNN report Thursday afternoon, Trump is reluctant to fire Pruitt because his work and loyalty at the EPA have bolstered the President’s confidence that Pruitt would continue to further his agenda as Attorney General. This position holds special weight for the President, who believes that he and his aides are being unfairly targeted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and wants as many allies as possible in positions of power over both Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller’s probe.
Trump maintained his support for Pruitt as recently as Thursday afternoon, telling pool reporters on Air Force One: “Scott has done a fantastic job, he’s a fantastic person. He’s been very courageous. It hasn’t been easy, but I think he’s done a fantastic job.”
According to CNN, Chief of Staff John Kelly does not share the President’s devotion, reportedly pressing for Pruitt’s firing before more damning stories surface.
Trump’s approval of Pruitt is matched only by his dislike for Sessions. The President’s resentment towards his Attorney General has simmered since Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, and has periodically spilled into the public sphere.