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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has told his associates that he's interested in becoming Attorney General, should the position become vacant, sources told Politico.

The backdrop: The revelation on Friday comes a day after two top Republicans of the influential conservative House Freedom Caucus said Attorney General Jeff Sessions should step down, citing intelligence leaks to the media from the Department of Justice Department and the agency's handling of the probe into President Trump's campaign ties to Russian operatives.

What's happening: Sources close to the president told Politico Trump has grown to like Pruitt, who has rolled back a number of Obama-era environmental regulations. But it's unclear whether he would be on the shortlist for the position, amid rumors that Sessions may soon step down, per Politico. The EPA denied that Pruitt is eyeing the position.

The Big picture: Pruitt's political aspirations beyond EPA have been clear even before he took the job he has now. Speculation has swirled he has been considering running for the Senate or governor in Oklahoma, where he's from.

Be smart: The attorney general role is probably more fit for Pruitt, whose background is as a lawyer. He was attorney general of Oklahoma for most of the Obama administration and sued the former president on many of his top priorities across policy areas, including environmental issues.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”