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Scott Pruitt. Photo: Jason Andrew/Getty Images

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said he gave his Chief of Staff, Ryan Jackson, the go-ahead to give controversial raises to two trusted aides at the EPA.

Why it matters: This issue is particularly fraught because the White House had initially denied the raises. To the extent Pruitt admits he defied the White House, it could be more damaging to him than the various spending controversies.

The buzz: Fox News’ John Roberts says Pruitt is confirming that he lied on Fox News when he said he wasn’t aware of the raises. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that three administration officials said Pruitt “endorsed the idea” of the raises.

What was said:

Rep. Tonko: "Did you, administrator, authorize [Chief of Staff Ryan] Jackson to sign those documents for you?"
Pruitt: "Those were delegated to Mr. Jackson and the Inspector General did reference that in his management alert…"
Rep. Tonko: "So...you did authorize him?"
Pruitt: "That decision was made by…"
Rep. Tonko: "Yes or no?"
Pruitt: "There were delegations giving him that authority."
Rep. Tonko: "That’s a yes?"
Pruitt: "The Inspector General recognized that, Congressman."
Rep. Tonko: "...Sarah Greenwald, one of the aides who received a substantial raise said you were aware of and supported the raises…"
Pruitt: "...I was not aware of the amount…nor was I aware...of the bypassing or the PPO process not being respected."

Go deeper

Facebook to lift political ad ban imposed after November election

Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook will finally allow advertisers to resume running political and social issue ads in the U.S. on Thursday, according to a company update.

The big picture: Facebook and rival Google instituted political ad bans to slow the spread of misinformation and curb confusion around the presidential election and its aftermath.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
14 mins ago - Technology

AI is industrializing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Artificial intelligence is becoming a true industry, with all the pluses and minuses that entails, according to a sweeping new report.

Why it matters: AI is now in nearly every area of business, with the pandemic pushing even more investment in drug design and medicine. But as the technology matures, challenges around ethics and diversity grow.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

National Guard chief: Pentagon's "unusual" Jan. 6 restrictions led to 3-hour delay

William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, testified Wednesday that a three-hour delay in approval for National Guard assistance during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was exacerbated by "unusual" restrictions on his authorities by Pentagon leadership.

Why it matters: Walker testified that if Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy had not prohibited him in a Jan. 5 memo from using the National Guard's "Quick Reaction Force" without authorization, he would have "immediately" sent troops to the Capitol after receiving a "frantic call" from then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund.