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Watchdog: EPA violated law with $43k phone booth

Scott Pruitt
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images

The Government Accountability Office determined that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the federal spending laws when the agency installed a $43,000 private phone booth in EPA chief Scott Pruitt's office without notifying Congress, reports ABC News.

Why it matters: Axios' Ben Geman says this is yet another negative headline for Pruitt at a time when he's facing multiple inquiries from lawmakers, the White House and the EPA's inspector general over his travel, security expenses, living arrangements and more. President Trump has signaled his support for Pruitt amid the ethics controversies, but the White House has also said that it’s still reviewing the matters.

But, but, but: Another report out today has some better news for Pruitt. The EPA's inspector general said documents show that Pruitt's chief of staff authorized significant raises for top EPA aides over objections from the White House, per Bloomberg. That backs up Pruitt's assertion that he neither knew about the raises nor their scope.

  • Flashback: Pruitt's denial earlier this month: “I found out this yesterday and I corrected the action and we are in the process of finding out how it took place and correcting it."
Axios 1 hour ago
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Dave Lawler 1 hour ago
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Trump's next guest: Merkel follows Macron

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will arrive in Washington tomorrow a diminished figure — limping into her fourth term after six months of torturous coalition talks and touching down in the afterglow of Emmanuel Macron’s state visit.

Flashback: Days after Trump’s election in November 2016, Barack Obama flew to Germany and hailed Merkel — then TIME’s reigning Person of the Year — as “my closest international partner these last eight years.” Headlines declared that she had, however reluctantly, become the "leader of the free world."