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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

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
7 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Read: Pete Buttigieg's opening statement ahead of confirmation hearing

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to be secretary of transportation, in December. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/AFP via Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to lead the Transportation Department, will tell senators he plans to prioritize the health and safety of public transportation systems during the pandemic — and look to infrastructure projects to rebuild the economy — according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: Buttigieg will testify at 10 a.m. ET before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He is expected to face a relatively smooth confirmation process, though GOP lawmakers may press him on "green" elements of Biden's transportation proposals.

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