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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday dismissed growing criticism over his connection with a lobbyist whom he paid $50 per night for a bedroom in the lobbyist’s apartment near Capitol Hill, telling Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard, "I'm dumbfounded that that’s controversial.”

The backdrop: His remarks come a day after a White House official told the WSJ the administration is digging "a little deeper" to determine if Pruitt's action violated federal ethics rules. On the other hand, Pruitt told Bedard the backlash is part of a concerted effort to undermine President Trump's deregulation agenda, adding: “It’s toxic here in that regard." ABC News first reported the rental controversy last week, which said the lobbyist has clients in industries regulated by the EPA.

Go deeper

Updated 1 min ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

🏄‍♀️: American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

🎾: Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament

🏊‍♀️: Teen swimmer Lydia Jacoby wins first U.S. women's Tokyo Games gold

✊🏿: Costa Rican gymnast pays tribute to Black Lives Matter in Olympic routine

🤖: The robot Olympics

🌡: Heat wave brings scorching temperatures to Tokyo Olympics

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage - Medal tracker

American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Carissa Moore of Team USA surfs during the women's Quarter Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in Ichinomiya, Chiba, Japan, on Tuesday. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Team USA's Carissa Moore won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's surfing final, at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

The big picture: The four-time world champion surfer from Hawaii was touted as a gold-medal favorite ahead of the finals, which were brought forward a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nepartak. Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold medal in the inaugural men's Olympic surfing contest.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Updated 27 mins ago - World

Hong Kong judges return guilty verdict in first security law trial

Activist Tong Ying-kit arrives at the West Kowloon court in Hong Kong in 2020. Photo: Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images

Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be charged and tried under Hong Kong's national security law was found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession by three judges Tuesday, per Bloomberg. The 24-year-old had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Why it matters: The law passed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party last year carries the maximum sentence of life imprisonment. In a departure from the Asian financial hub's common law traditions, Tong was denied a jury trial.