Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) warned embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt Wednesday that he may have to resign given his mounting ethics scandals.

The bottom line: Speaking on Wednesday in a radio interview with conservative pundit Laura Ingraham, who herself has called for Pruitt to step down, Inhofe said the administrator "has really done some things that surprised me." An option for him to fix things, Inhofe said, "would be for him to leave that job."

Why it matters: Pruitt has been embroiled in a slew of ethics controversies surrounding his spending and management decisions at the agency. The latest controversy came Wednesday morning, when the Washington Post reported that he used agency staff to try to land a job for his wife at an outside political group.

  • During the radio interview, Inhofe said he was going to let Pruitt know about his frustration over his continued behavior in office. "I’m sending a communication over today that we’ve had enough of these things and you need to get down and do the job we’re elected to do," he said.

Yes, but: A spokesperson for Inhofe told Axios the senator was not calling for Pruitt's resignation, but that he has concerns about the reported allegations and wants to hear about them from Pruitt. After the radio interview, Inhofe spoke to the Post about Pruitt, and said he's seeking a meeting with the administrator no later than Monday.

“I’m keeping my powder dry until I talk to him, which would be Monday at the very latest,” the senator said.

Go deeper: Why Pruitt's departure would not change EPA's policies.

Go deeper

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

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