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

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.