Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

As ethics controversies continue to swirl around EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, many observers in Washington are wondering how long he might be able to hang onto his job.

The view from the West Wing: Axios' Jonathan Swan spoke with sources close to President Trump and this basic picture emerged: If nothing else bad comes out against Pruitt, they’ll probably ride through the storm with him. But should more damaging stories surface — especially ones that demonstrate poor ethical judgement — Pruitt could be abandoned in a flash. Trump is uneasy about the situation, and has his finger in the wind.

"Not" cool: ICYMI, when asked yesterday whether President Trump is OK with Pruitt's $50-per-night deal last year for the room in a condo owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders replied, "The President is not."

  • "We’re reviewing the situation. When we have had a chance to have a deeper dive on it, we’ll let you know the outcomes of that," she said at a briefing yesterday.
  • Why it matters: It showed the White House going public with its widely reported concerns about Pruitt, who faces questions and bad headlines around the condo deal as well as controversial raises for top aides.

About those raises: As Axios' Haley Britzky noted yesterday, Pruitt said in a Fox News interview Wednesday that he just learned of big pay raises for two aides that came to Washington with him:

  • “I found out this yesterday and I corrected the action and we are in the process of finding out how it took place and correcting it."
  • The intrigue: That follows a report in The Atlantic that "Pruitt ordered" the pay boosts — $28,130 and $56,765 — for the two aides using special authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act after the White House rejected the request. EPA did not provide comment.

Pruitt's allies push back: More via Swan, who reports that Pruitt’s allies are back-channeling several messages to Trump in a bid to save the EPA chief, including:

  • Don’t let the left take down Pruitt. This is really about ideology, and people on the left who don’t like his aggressive moves to unwind regulations.
  • Firing Pruitt would bring endless trouble. Pruitt's backers say the left — and they lump the mainstream press into that category — won’t be satisfied if Pruitt goes. They’ll just move onto the next cabinet secretary.

A reality check: Per Swan, White House officials he's spoken with have little patience for those defenses of Pruitt. They blame him and him alone for his ethical missteps, particularly the condo.

  • And White House sources are hearing rumors from colleagues in the administration that there’s more to come. If there are legitimately bad facts still unreported, it’s hard to see how he survives.

Late-breaking: CNN reported last night that the EPA's top ethics official, who had previously signed off on Pruitt's condo situation, "clarified his earlier analysis of whether . . . Pruitt's rental arrangement broke the federal gift rule, saying he didn't have all the facts when evaluating the lease."

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Shutdown Plan B

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate will hold a futile vote Monday night — just 72 hours before a potential shutdown — on a House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: The bill is going to fail. Period. But then comes Plan B: A "clean" continuing resolution — stripped of language about raising the debt limit — that Democrats spent the past week preparing, Axios is told.

Glenn Youngkin's play: Forever- and Never-Trumpers

Glenn Youngkin in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on Friday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Standing on a flatbed hitched to a John Deere tractor in red Rockingham County, Virginia, Glenn Youngkin decried California liberalism and bashed his rival, Terry McAuliffe. He also encouraged early voting. Two words he avoided: Donald Trump.

Driving the news: Youngkin, the Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee, is mounting a serious challenge to McAuliffe — a former governor and veteran of Democratic politics. Axios caught up with him on Friday in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!