Trump's EPA chief Scott Pruitt gets grilled in unexpectedly combative Fox News interview
Scott Pruitt (Fox News/Screenshot)

Embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt arranged an "exclusive" interview with Fox News in a blatant attempt to save his job. He assumed he'd be given softball questions and a friendly reception. He was wrong.

In the video below, Fox News Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry, introducing a clip from his interview with Pruitt says, "it got a little combative."

Asking why he gave pay raises to two staffers after the White House told him not to, Pruitt interjected – "I did not."

"My staff did," he claimed, "and I found out about that yesterday and I changed it."

Those raises were massive. One staffer got a raise of $28,130 and another staffer got a raise of $56,765.

After the clip ran, at the end of the segment, Henry basically calls Pruitt a liar. He points to an article in The Atlantic that clearly states "Pruitt ordered" staff to use a 1996 law to bypass White House approval and give massive raises to two of his top staffers.

In the face-to-face interview Henry pelts Pruitt with questions about the raises.

"So is somebody being fired for that?"

"So who did it?"

"A career person or a political person?"

Pruitt, clearly flummoxed, responded, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You run the agency," Henry reminds him.

And then it got worse.

"So hang on – both of these staffers who got these large pay raises are friends of yours from Oklahoma, right?" Henry asked.

"They are staffers here in the agency," Pruitt said, dodging the question.

"They're from Okla – they're friends of yours," Henry pressed.

"Well, they serve a very important –"

"And you didn't know that they got these large pay raises?" Henry, somewhat incredulous, asked.

"I did not know they got the pay raises," Pruitt said, after having started out saying they had not.

"OK. One of them got a raise of $28,000. The other, let's see, was $58,000. Do you know what the median income in this country is?"

"No –"

"$57,000 a year. So one of your friends from Oklahoma got a pay raise that's the median –"

"They did not get a pay raise," Pruitt went back to insisting.

"Are you embarrassed?" Henry asked.

After the interview the on-screen chat turned to Pruitt's travel.

If the White House ordered the interview, they must be regretting it now.