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Two top US EPA staffers resign amid ongoing ethics probes

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Two high-level Environmental Protection Agency employees whose names have come up in ongoing probes into Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethics and travel have resigned from the agency, the EPA confirmed on Tuesday.

Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta, a former Secret Service agent who served as the head of Pruitt’s security team, resigned on Monday, but said he will continue to cooperate in a U.S. House of Representatives investigation into his role in costly decisions around Pruitt’s security. ABC News first reported the resignation on Tuesday.

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Albert “Kell” Kelly, who ran the agency’s Superfund cleanup program, also announced his resignation, the EPA confirmed. Kelly was barred by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from working at any U.S. financial institution after unspecified violations while working at a bank in Oklahoma.

The resignations come just days after lawmakers grilled Pruitt in back-to-back hearings on reports of ethics violations, excessive spending on travel and security, close industry ties and the reassignment of agency whistleblowers who flagged concerns about high spending.

 
Those issues included the installation of a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in Pruitt’s office and the routine use of first-class flights – both of which EPA has argued were important to protecting Pruitt’s safety and privacy.

Pruitt praised both men for their work at EPA.

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“Kell Kelly’s service at EPA will be sorely missed,” Pruitt said in a statement. “In just over a year he has made a tremendous impact on EPA’s Superfund program.”

Pruitt said of Perrotta that he “selflessly served the American people for more than 23 years” as a Secret Service agent and under four EPA administrators. “I want to thank him for his service and wish him the very best in retirement.”

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said on Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that his committee had scheduled interviews with Perrotta and other senior Pruitt aides this week.

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He said the panel also received documents it requested from the EPA related to Pruitt and his staff’s use of first-class flights and a condo rental agreement between Pruitt and the wife of an industry lobbyist.

 
President Donald Trump has not indicated whether the slew of scandals would affect Pruitt’s tenure.

Several Republicans in the House who have embraced Pruitt’s deregulatory agenda said Pruitt was unfairly grilled by Democrats regarding the scandals, but others said his answers to some key questions were vague.

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Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Black MSNBC host schools Joe Walsh on N-word tweets being racist: ‘Hard to put the toothpaste back in’

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Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) is like a lighter version of President Donald Trump, said Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton. But MSNBC host Kendis Gibson couldn't help but ask Walsh about his history of racism.

In an interview after Walsh's announcement, Gibson asked hard questions about Walsh's history of racism. Walsh profusely apologized to former President Barack Obama, who Walsh waged war against during his tenure in the White House. While Wash was not a supporter of the racist birther campaign that Trump perpetuated, Wash does have a history of using racist terms on Twitter.

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MSNBC analyst explains how a new poll shows voters will turn out to dump Trump

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A new poll is showing shocking numbers for President Donald Trump this week, according to an MSNBC analyst.

In a Sunday afternoon discussion, conservative commentator Shermichael Singleton explained that he doesn't think Joe Walsh is going to take much out of Trump's delegate count at the Republican convention. He suggested that someone more middle of the road like former Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) would be a better option for to endanger Trump's delegate count.

Democratic strategist Drew Litman agreed, saying that if Walsh was a vice-presidential pick on a third party ticket, there was more of an opportunity to make a difference. He called Walsh just a "lighter" version of Trump.

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Iran Foreign Minister Zarif perfectly Twitter-trolls Trump with photos of meeting with smiling Macron at G7

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Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif used Donald Trump's favorite social media platform to get in a dig at the president and rub his nose in the fact that French President Emmanuel took time out from the busy G7 meeting he is hosting to sit down with him.

The White House was reportedly blindsided by Macron's invitation that had been kept a secret from Trump and now, if Trump wanted proof of the meeting, he need only hop on Twitter to see the evidence.

As Zarif wrote, "Iran's active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues. Met @EmmanuelMacron on sidelines of #G7Biarritz after extensive talks with @JY_LeDria & Finance Min. followed by a joint briefing for UK/Germany. Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying."

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