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.

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Trump to far-right Proud Boys: "Stand back and stand by"

Asked to condemn white supremacist violence at the first presidential debate on Tuesday, President Trump said the far-right Proud Boys group should "stand back and stand by," before immediately arguing that violence in the U.S. "is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."

Why it matters: Trump has repeatedly been accused of failing to condemn white nationalism and right-wing violence, despite the FBI's assessment that it's the most significant domestic terrorism threat that the country faces. The president has frequently associated antifa and the left-wing violence that has afflicted some U.S. cities with Biden, despite his condemnation of violent protests.

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

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 33,516,946 — Total deaths: 1,005,394 — Total recoveries: 23,273,369Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m ET: 7,188,543 — Total deaths: 205,966 — Total recoveries: 2,809,674 — Total tests: 103,155,189Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. Politics: 7 former FDA commissioners say Trump is undermining agency's credibility
  5. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  6. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  7. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  8. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic