April 7, 2018

The White House is trying not to fire EPA director Scott Pruitt. Will another scandal erupt? The AM Joy panel talks about Trump's options.

Betsy Woodruff said Pruitt's biggest decision was probably defying the White House.

"I can tell you that within the White House, there is little affection for Scott Pruitt. He's viewed as one who is less than honest, less than candid, less than forthright," Woodruff said.

"Among the White House staff, there's a lot of frustration and a lot of resentment. at the same time these outside voices, including the Wall Street Journal," including upwards of 100 conservative movement leaders who called for the president to keep Scott Pruitt in place, those voices are powerful. They're marshaling all their forces to try to persuade the president and the voices in Congress to defend Scott Pruitt, so there's a battle royale, if you will."

She said if no other stories break, Pruitt might retain his position. "If there's one more big story, one more impactful new piece of information that we get about Pruitt, he will be in big trouble. One thing i can tell you is that White House officials believe there's probably going to be more where this whole can of worms came from."

"Betsy, is there anything to the reporting, NBC news on Friday reported that multiple administration officials say not only is Donald Trump thinking about standing by Scott Pruitt but getting rid of his current attorney general Jeff Sessions, and replacing him with Scott Pruitt?" Reid asked. (We'd all like to know!)

Woodruff said there were no current plans to put Pruitt in the spot. She said Pruitt is "extremely ambitious. He made it clear he wanted Sessions' job. That could be part of the reason we're hearing this reporting, but I don't see a reason to believe Pruitt is on the cusp of getting Sessions' job. It would almost be impossible to get him through hearings," she said.

Reid pointed out Pruitt has already been confirmed, and could be appointed long enough to fire Bob Mueller.

Woodruff said she doesn't think it's likely. "I think Trump is boxed in now on not doing this. There's no way Scott Pruitt will end up surviving this. More will come out. Trump will get asked why do you keep staying with this when you know there's been wrongdoing, a waste of taxpayer dollars, this goes against everything you campaigned on, draining the swamp, that lobbyists would not be running the washington establishment, this is the focal point of what we're talking about," she said.

"Nobody hates more being upstaged by an aide or subordinate than Donald Trump."

Reid turned to David Cay Johnston. "Donald Trump's base does not care about draining the swamp or whether his cabinet members have champagne wishes and caviar dreams," she said. "I wonder if you draw a line between what Donald Trump is doing and the oligarchs that he admires. This is Putin-like.".

"This is the kind of world that Donald Trump believes we should live in. He believes he's the superior person and he should be running everything. Why would you think otherwise? Given the opportunity to do so, he will do so," Johnston said.

"The real danger is, we had a breakdown of the checks and balances system, from the electoral college to the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill which is failing to do its basic, fundamental job."

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