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EPA chief’s security detail on Italy trip cost $30,000: document

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The U.S. government spent over $30,000 on personal security for Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt during his trip last year to Italy, according to documents obtained by a watchdog group that said the spending was irresponsible at a time of budget cuts.

According to the document, obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project through a Freedom of Information Act request and shown to Reuters, Pruitt’s personal security detail racked up $30,553.88 in travel costs from June 5 through June 12, 2017, when Pruitt was in Italy for meetings at the Vatican and to attend a summit of foreign energy ministers. The total cost of the trip exceeded $80,000, EIP calculated.

“Mr. Pruitt’s trip to Rome last summer cost the taxpayers over $84,000,” said Eric Schaeffer, EIP’s director. “That’s a lot of money for Mr. Pruitt to tour the Vatican, pose for photos, and tell his European counterparts that global warming doesn’t matter,” he said.

Spending by top officials in the Trump administration has come under more scrutiny by critics at a time when federal agencies have been making sharp budget cuts. Lawmakers have also criticized Pruitt for frequently flying first-class, and for spending tens of thousands of dollars on a secure sound-proof telephone booth for his office.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said the security detail “followed the same procedures for the G7 environmental meeting in Italy that were used during EPA Administrators Stephen Johnson, Lisa Jackson, and Gina McCarthy’s trips to Italy. EPA’s security procedures have not deviated over the past 14 years.”

It was unclear from looking at the document how many members were in the security detail, and no breakdown of the spending was provided. Previous documents released by EIP showed the cost of Pruitt’s trip, including spending by his entourage but not including the security detail, was $43,000.

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EIP has been critical of Pruitt’s statements questioning the causes of global climate change and his efforts to roll back environmental protections.

EPA has said Pruitt has flown first-class as a security measure, and that the administrator does not make decisions relating to his security detail.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by David Gregorio

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Republican lawmakers ask judge to destroy smoking gun documents proving GOP’s white supremacy

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Republicans on Monday sought a court order to block damning documents from being used against them in a lawsuit.

"North Carolina Republican lawmakers on Monday asked a court to make sure the files of the now-deceased GOP strategist Tom Hofeller are destroyed, or at least kept secret, instead of being used in a high-profile gerrymandering lawsuit," the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

"The filing comes after the groups behind the lawsuit, including Common Cause, accused Republican lawmakers of making false statements in court in a previous gerrymandering case, when the state’s 2011 maps were ruled unconstitutional," the newspaper noted. "That blockbuster accusation made national headlines and was, it said, based on Hofeller’s files which had been secret until recently."

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Maddow slams Trump’s era of government officials ‘saving the country from the commander-in-chief’ with leaks

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Rachel Maddow on Monday worried about the pattern of government officials leaking to the press to stop President Donald Trump from sabotaging United States' interests to help Russia.

The MSNBC anchor broke down the key questions raised by the bombshell New York Times report that officials were keeping secrets from Trump to protect U.S. interests.

Maddow reminded of a June 2017 story by Michael Isikoff.

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Trump angrily demands newspaper reveal unnamed sources behind bombshell report on his Russia policy

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President Donald Trump on Monday evening again lashed out at The New York Times for reporting on his Russia policy.

"The story in The New York Times about the U.S. escalating attacks on Russia’s power grid is fake news, and the failing New York Times knows it," Trump argued in a tweet sent after 10 p.m.

"They should immediately release their sources which, if they exist at all, which I doubt, are phony," he continued.

"Times must be held fully accountable," he demanded.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1140804748423118848

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