Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt. Photo: Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images

Embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had demanded and received around-the-clock armed security protection since his first day on the job, the agency’s inspector general disclosed in a letter Monday to congressional lawmakers.

The details: Inspector General Arthur Elkins, responding to an inquiry about Pruitt’s security, said the EPA head initiated the protection plan himself. The watchdog, which is responsible for probing threats made against agency employees, added that it “played no role in this decision.”

Flashback: EPA officials and Pruitt have repeatedly said the administrator has been experiencing a number of threats in order to justify stepping up his security measures. But this new revelation apparently undermines that main argument. Pruitt, facing a variety of other inquiries, also blamed security concerns for his pricey travel choices.

Go deeper: Inside Scott Pruitt's "miserable" bunker.

Go deeper

Child care crisis is denting the labor market

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

New data from the Pew Research Center shows that parents are being hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and as far as job losses go, mothers and fathers are faring equally poorly.

Why it matters: Economists have been warning for months that the pandemic could do long-term damage to the economy as people remain unemployed for longer stretches of time.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Trump-Biden venom on display during final debate

Photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's hopes of nuclear deal with Putin come down to the wire

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A surprise offer from Vladimir Putin has the U.S. and Russia once again circling a potential pre-election nuclear deal.

The big picture: The last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russia, New START, is due to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, two weeks after the next U.S. presidential inauguration. For the first time since the height of the Cold War, the nuclear guardrails could come off.

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