Jan 5, 2018

Report: Pruitt interested in attorney general role

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.

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Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.

U.S. coronavirus death toll crosses 100,000

Data: Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a terrible milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: The death toll from COVID-19 now stands at more than 34 times the number of people who died on 9/11.