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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  May 11, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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a white house aide makes an incensensitive comment. the aide who said it called the senator's daughter to apologize. the white house today had multiple chances to do it, to condemn the comment, to apologize to senator mccain and his family but refused. refused to acknowledge it happened. the latest from the white house. what did sarah sanders say in the briefing when asked directly and repeat lid about tly about sadler comments? >> several times when she was asked what the white house's response was, she said she wasn't going to validate a week of an internal staff meeting. of course, we have reported these comments came during a communications meeting, which kelly sadler is on the communications team. sarah sanders not apologizing,
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not acknowledging she did make these comments. last night when this was reported she made that crass remark about john mccain, the white house issued a statement not denying, not apologizing, but saying they were praying for the mccain family during this difficult time. today john at the white house, it was business as usual for kelly sadler who i was told was in her office doing her usual typical day to day work, sending out e-mails. she was back at the white house, which sarah sanders affirmed today, she's still working here at the white house, despite this comment that she made. i should note that we did report last night, kelly sadler did call john mccain's daughter to apologize for that remark, which makes it more questionable why the white house wouldn't repeat that apology. >> exactly. sanders seemed a lot less concerned about the actual comment, no concern at all about the comment. very concerned about the fact that we all learned that something hateful was said. >> that did seem to be the focus
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during those several questions during the briefing, she kept going back to the fact that someone leaked this. it's not surprising this isn't the typical day to day stuff that someone would leak to daniel t damage the white house. it stunned a lot of people in washington that she made such a remark. sarah sanders said she wasn't going to validate a comment someone leaked from a meeting. she did certainly seem to be more concerned with the fact it was revealed to the media than the fact that someone who works in the white house made such a crass remark about someone who is not only a senator, someone who served our country and someone who has brain cancer. >> someone who is sick. it can stop with that. someone who is sick you shouldn't say something like that about. thanks so much. joining me now, julia davis, joel lockheart and rich lowery. it was an interesting briefing.
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sarah sanders had multiple opportunities to address this. even the smallest way. she refused. >> absolutely. there was no good thing to say other than an apology. she was focused as you were talking about on the leak and the fact we learned about this. i think what this indicates is, the white house has the opportunity to go on the record in moments like these and really put themselves out there as this is the example we want to set, these are the values the president and this white house cares about. she didn't care that opportunity at all. it really speaks to a level of kind of political calculation that they're not really focused on the message that they're sending when staffers are making comments like this. they are focused on, does this person support the president's agenda? that's what sarah sanders kept going back to, is we want everyone to support the president's agenda. we're not focused on these internal meetings. it's an issue. it pointed up a pretty important
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issue that i think past presidents would have insisted that the spokesman would go out and say something. >> it appears to be the contrary. you among us has been behind that podium. you know that the one question that sarah sanders prepared for was that question. this answer was planned and deliberate. >> sure. my guess on what happened is this filtered up to the president when he was out and about campaigning last night. the only explanation i can come up with is the president put his foot down and said, you will not apologize. i will not have someone from my white house apologizing. there's no one that dumb not to do this. then i think it's a question about sarah sanders. i looked at this. i have been in situations like this. it's a question of compassion versus integrity. i believe she's got compassion. it becomes a question of integrity, when you know you should apologize, you know it's the right thing to do. but because the president tells you you can't, you don't. then i think it -- it's
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untenable. in a perverse way i feel sorry for her. >> you could come up with ten ways to apologize that wouldn't be seen like groveling. >> she hasn't mastered that. i said to someone earlier today, this would have been an opportunity for donald trump to wipe the slate clean with john mccain. pick up the phone like every previous president would have done and apology. it's just not in his value system to ever back down to ever apologize no matter how wrong he is. >> are you surprised that didn't happen? >> i'm not surprised. it would have been the easiest and right thing to do. we wouldn't be talking about it anymore if they apologized. kelly did the right thing to call and apologize. i don't know that it went up to the top. that's the ethos from the top. there are three dozen times more, i don't know how many, during the campaign when you would have thought the smart, wise, politic thing for trump to
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do would have been apologize. he never did. he won. that's just part of the way he operates. >> right. exactly. sarah, another question that sarah faced repeatedly was does this attitude come from the top? would this aide have said something like this if the president did not feel this way, specifically about john mccain, but feel tree to sfree to say t things? do you think the president created that atmosphere? >> i think that's too sp speculati speculative. we have said rude and tasteless things in private that we regret. we don't know what exactly she was thinking. once the story is out there, explaining is a loser. you shouldn't try to explain. say we're sorry. we live in a different world. 20 years ago this never becomes public. the new environment is a national story. >> i don't know if it doesn't go public. there were other white house staffers in the room. some versions of the report say there were congressional
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staffers. there were enough ears there -- there were enough people in the trump white house who have tied to republican administrations and to john mccain who i think would have an issue with this. >> what's striking to me is obviously this was a closed door meeting. it wasn't a public venue. people use can a losay rude thi. in every other white house there's a sense of what the president will tolerate and what he won't. i cannot imagine a bush administration aide having said something like this knowing it could get back to the boss. i cannot imagine an obama administration ai administrati administration aide saying something like that. the boss would have made sure there was a public accounting and reprimand, a firing, a public apology. the fact that folks in this white house don't seem to really be concerned about that, that she felt free to say this in a venue like that --
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>> i want to cover secretary nielsen who threatened to resign, maybe wrote a resignation letter and did not. i'm struck by the fact that this is a fairly common practice. you threaten to resign and then don't. >> i don't think it's a new thing that people seek to use the media as a way to communicate with the president. i think they have taken it to another level here. the classic way in this administration is to do it on fox and friends in the morning. they know the president is watching. they know he is engaging with them. he denies reading "the new york times." but reading his tweets, you know he is reading "the new york times." it's not particularly new but it's just like a lot of things in the administration, it's on stero steroids. >> i can see how the administration wouldn't mind the story. it's chaos, it's discord.
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but it's the president being tough on immigration. >> he cares about that promise. it really drives him crazy that he hasn't been able toed by anything that he can meaningf meaningfully call a wall. he is irritated about it. it's more appropriate to bring this up in a cabinet meeting rather than tweet publically and shame and attack her on twitter as he has done with others. >> you can go down the list. thanks very much. i appreciate it. breaking news. michael cohen reached out to ford motor company to offer his insight into president trump and special counsel robert mueller asking questions about that. coming up shortly, the cnn special report, pruitt under fire, the battle at the epa. mom? dad? hi! i had a very minor fender bender tonight in an unreasonably narrow fast food drive thru lane. but what a powerful life lesson. and don't worry i have everything handled.
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it's red lobster's create your own shrimp trios. pick 3 of 9 new and classic creations for just $15.99. with new creations like savory crab-topped shrimp, and parmesan truffle shrimp scampi you better hurry in before shrimp trios is gone. we do have breaking news. "the wall street journal" is reporting michael cohen tried to score a consulting contract
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offering insight on president trump. it was the ford motor company which rejected the offer. robert mueller requested information from ford about the outreach. the ceo of at&t says it was a big mistake to hire cohen as a political consultant. make that a $600,000 mistake. brian shelter joins me now. brian, the president actually just tweeted about at&t. what did he say? >> that's right. an odd tweet even by president trump standards. we can share it on screen. he said, why is the fake news media not pointing out that my justice department has been opposing at&t and time warner? his justice department sued tried to block the deal in court. this goes back to last november, when the suit was filed. at&t reached out to cohen -- cohen reached out to at&t. at&t paid cohen partly to get
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advice about how to make sure this merger would be approved, how the deal would get through. cohen wasn't much help, because in november the lawsuit was filed. there was a trial. a judge is working on a ruling. an interesting development in the past few minutes, rudy giuliani, who as we know has a tendency to say anything and surprise all of us, he has given an interview where he contradicts the official government version of events. he is quoted saying, the president denied the merger. in other words, whatever lobbying was done, it didn't work. that's key. the justice department is supposed to operate independently. when the doj sued to block the deal, it said president trump wasn't dicting other officials and making a mess. >> the president denied the merger, fired comey because of russia and the president reimbursed money that was funneled or funneled money.
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rudy giuliani said a lot of things. >> maybe rudy will walk it back. one of the core propositions, one of the core issues here involving at&t and time warner has been the suspicions that maybe the president was trying to punish this channel cnn by blocking the deal. the white house has denied that. the doj denied that. here is rudy giuliani saying, yeah, the president blocked the deal. >> the ceo of at&t had a lot to say to his employees about michael cohen. >> a remarkably blunt statement this morning. he said it was a big mistake to have a contract with cohen. it's been embarrassing. it caused reputational dani aal. the head of the d.c. office retired today. that was not a voluntary choice. that was a push, not a jump. retirement as a result of this controversy. >> sarah sanders was asked about this. >> she said this is evidence the swamp is being cleaned up. because at&t and time warner were challenged in court, it's evidence what cohen was doing wasn't working. i go back to the rudy quote.
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the president denied the merger. that contradicts everything we heard for five or six months. >> that's a new development rudy will have to clean that up. i will note that everyone that michael cohen worked for or came near doesn't seem to have had any affect. he didn't seem to be good at what he was hired to do by at&t and novartis. >> at&t isn't the only one regretting it. novartis says it was a mistake to hire him. i wonder if there are other companies. we know about these four that we learned about this week. drip, drip, drip, every day. >> the special counsel wanted to speak to each and every one of them. just ahead, what president trump said about epa chief scott pruitt. stay tuned for the special report, pruitt under fire, the battle for the epa.
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>> do you have confidence in mr. pruitt? >> i do. thank you. >> up next, drew griffin has a look at the controversy surrounding this cabinet member, pruitt under fire, the battle at the epa, starts now. the following is a cnn special report. >> we are going to end the epa intrusion. new energy revolution. epa is a disaster. it's killing us. our plan will end the epa. >> a campaign promise being carried out about this man. >> i think that scott has done a fantastic job. i think he is a fantastic person. i just left coal and energy country. they love scott pruitt. >> let me be very clear, i have nothing to hide. >> you are unfit to hold public office. >> some call scott pruitt the biggest threat to the environment. >> doing great damage to the
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agency and to human health. >> scott pruitt is completely accomplishing longtime decades long conservative agenda items. >> now one of the president's top cabinet members surrounded by scandal. >> pruitt is now facing 10 investigations. >> pruitt had a $50 a day condo. >> phone booth that resembles the maxwell smart cone of silence. >> you can't just go around acting like a big shot. >> from first class travel to 24-hour security detail to huge raises. could pruitt be the next to go? >> who is this man running an agency that he has been trying to dismantle for years? >> he had taken the lobbyist letter and sent it to the federal government. >> nobody gets attacked more than scott. he is doing what the president hired him to do. >> a cnn special report, pruitt under fire, the battle at the epa.
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>> it's good to see you here today. >> scott pruitt in the spotlight. >> under fire for how he is spending taxpayer dollars. >> the focus on epa administrator scott pruitt. >> it seems every day there's a new revelation about the head of the epa, scott pruitt. >> weeks of allegations about ethical lapses. they're piling up. >> about his travel. >> pruitt in the spotlight for his frequent high price flights. >> he requested per diem lodging expenses in excess of what the government allowed. >> his spending. >> $43,000 sound proof booth. >> he demanded vip treatment to cut through washington treatment. >> leading to an unprecedented number of investigations. a dozen probes from federal agencies and congress. >> like the fox guarding the hen
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house, that's how critics are describing one of president-elect donald trump's latest cabinet picks. >> scott pruitt was in for a fight from the day he was nominated to lead the nation's environmental protection agency. he had a long history of being anti-epa. in his previous job as oklahoma attorney general, scott pruitt sued the epa 14 times, trying to reverse obama era regulations on everything from the clean water rule to the limits on mercury pollution. >> i have never seen anyone isolate themselves the way that scott pruitt has done, from day one. >> gina mccasurthy was the outgoing epa director. >> you want to sit down and explain. he wouldn't respond to requests that i made to sit down with me to explain what was going on in the agency. his whole transition team isolated themselves in a room. if you only come in with a
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laundry list of things to do and the only one you have talked to is an industry person, then you are not really fulfilling, i think, the obligation you have to the public. >> in his first 15 months in office, pruitt has attempted to overturn or pulled back at least 65 environmental regulations. >> we are going to end the epa intrusion into your lives. >> carrying out trump's mission, to claw back key rules like provisions in the clean air act, the clean water rule and emissions rules for factories and cars. even with all the controversy over pruitt's environmental decisions, it's his alleged ethical lapses that have him under fire. >> it's mind boggling how long the list of potential ethics violations are. in my 15 years with the agency, i have never seen anything like it. not in the bush administration, not in the obama administration
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and not even in this scandal plagued trump administration. scott pruitt is in a class of his own when it comes to bend the rules. >> walter used to run the u.s. office of government ethics. he quit after clashing with the trump administration. >> the sheer volume and sheer expense of what he is doing with regard to the travel far exceeds anything anyone has seen. he has a penchant for flying in first class, suppose ldly for security reasons. as though the sheer curtain is going to stop an attack. you have him using travel to get back to oklahoma. they did a study of how many days he spent in oklahoma in one three-month period. it was almost half of the days. he is using government resources to get himself home is what it looks like. >> much of the overboard spending is in connection with threats against pruitt says the epa, which make a 20 member
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security detail and first class travel a necessity. even the president tweeted, scott pruitt has received death threats because of his bold actions at epa. according to this letter written by democratic senators, there were no known investigations under way concerning threats to scott pruitt by the fbi's joint te terrorism task force. it cost more than $105,000 in his first year in office. other questionable travel includes charter and military flight. members of a house company cited $200,000 pruitt spent so far on questionable travel. >> you didn't answer my question. i asked you if you were going to reimburse the taxpayers for the overage. this includes ten trips to oklahoma as well. are you going to reimburse? what are you going to do? >> they determine where i sit on a plane and all trips with
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respect to epa dollars is for official trips. >> then there's a sound proof booth in his office with its $43,000 price tag. a violation of federal spending law according to the government accountability office. >> how often do you use your secret phone booth? >> it's for confidential communication. it's rare. >> pruitt got a sweetheart housing deal in washington, renting rooms for $50 a night from a lobbyist. he met with a mining company executive and within an hour announced he was reversing environmental protection to allow a mine to be built in a pristine part of alaska, a decision he had to rescind. he met with chemical company representatives of then decided not to enforce regulations on potentially toxic chemicals. he meets with industry reps, rarely with environmentalists and reportedly retaliates against epa scientists who have called him out.
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>> there's a level at which he is meeting with people and excluding others and taking perks like this discounted condo rental that certainly creates the appearance that epa is for sale. >> you don't doubt that that is the message scott pruitt is basically saying through his actions? interestic i ethics don't apply to me. >> it's compliance with all of the safeguards and restraints on government officials. >> his security entourage, lavish spending and inability to take responsibility for any of it -- >> i'm not aware. i was not aware. i was not aware. i was not aware. >> means his name keeps surfacing as the next potential candidate to be publically fired by his boss. >> it's time we issue an eviction notice, change the locks and kick scott pruitt out of the epa.
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>> we're at a point now with scott pruitt being investigated by the house, the senate, the government accountability office, the office of management and budget and inspector general, with that many investigations going on, i simply don't see how in any other time he survives even this long in his job much any longer. >> the mantra of the administration was we're going to drain the swamp. >> they brought in one big alligator from oklahoma. >> not everyone agrees. >> scott pry it uitt is doing a job implementing the president's agenda. >> myron is a big support of scott pruitt. >> the people who voted for president trump in the reust bet felt that for a number of years the federal government was waging war on them and on their economic livelihood. president trump said i'm going to undo that and scott pruitt is doing a good job implementing
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that agenda at the epa. his personal problems are getting in the way of his management. >> do you think he will fulfill the mission that president trump wants him to? >> i think as of right today, i think he is in good shape. i think these things have been a distraction. they have weakened him in some ways. i think right now, he is in position to continue implementing the agenda and explaining it to the american people. >> coming up, scott pruitt's dislike of environmental agencies started back in oklahoma. >> one of the first things he did was to shut down the environmental enforcement division at the oklahoma attorney general's office. >> so did questions about his ethics. >> i had no reason to believe that the house had gone down in value during the 14 months we owned the home. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job from any one else.
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definitely dreaming. then again, dreaming is how i got this far. now more businesses in more places can afford to dream gig. comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network. scott pruitt was just five years out of law school when he began his political career. as a state senator for oklahoma. >> scott was one of the young up and comers. >> in 2003, marcia was a lobbyis lobbyist. >> you were building relationships with any key stake holder, whether the president of the chamber or key elected officials. >> when she moved, scott pruitt
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wanted to buy her historic home. about a half mile from the state capital. >> i did get a call from i believe scott and said, we're interested in buying the home. are you going to sell it? >> real estate records show pruitt and four other investors bought the home, according to "the new york times." which also reported that one of the investors was registered lobbyist justin whitefield. he was pushing for changes to state workers' economy session rules, changes pruitt advocated for. they bought the home at a substantial discount. $100,000 less than she paid a year earlier. >> when we bought the house, it appraised for more than what we paid for it, not a lot, but it appraised for me. i had no reason to believe that the house had gone down in value. >> the deal was brokered by her relocation company. the $100,000 loss picked up by her employer, sbc. >> even when i talked to my
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realtor, he pulled up the history and goes, that's kind of odd. that's all i know about it. >> around the same time, sbc was lobbying lawmakers on a range of matters, including a regulatory effort to reopen a decade old bribery case against their company. state records show pruitt eventually sided with sbc. >> the fact that at&t had matters pending before the state legislature and as a state senator he was going to be asked to vote on those matters, it created an appearance that potentially he was getting a financial benefit from a company that he was then going to need to pass judgement on. >> there is no evidence scott pruitt changed his position on legislative matters related to sbc. during a recent congressional hearing, pruitt claimed he couldn't remember how much he paid for the home. >> one-sixth of the purchase price. >> do you remember the amount? >> i do not.
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>> as state senator, pruitt made another bold financial move. >> scott pruitt in 2003 thought of perhaps being a professional baseball player and played baseball in college and was a huge baseball fan. somehow then moves into minor league baseball in oklahoma city. he buys into a minor league team. >> he bought a 29% stake in the oklahoma city red hawks. that's $2 million. critics question how he got the loan on a $38,000 state senator salary. >> in 2003, you were an oklahoma state senator with a salary of $38,400. correct? >> also an attorney with a law practice. >> his friend albert kelly approved that loan through spirit bank. kelly, the chief executive at the time, also approved the loan pruitt requested for the home. kelly said in his statement that the loans were all extremely
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well underwritten and paid as agreed. he would later follow pruitt to washington, d.c. seven years later, the senator set his sights on a heavier role, state attorney general. pruitt's number one campaign pledge? >> i would file a lawsuit against obama. >> to fight against washington. >> i believe it's important to use the office to hold washington accountable. >> it worked. >> one of the first things he did was to shut down the environmental enforcement division at the oklahoma attorney general's office. >> pruitt eventually became the head of the republican attorneys general association. >> it's a fund-raising group. >> "new york times" reporter eric lipton attended a few events. >> i saw lobbyists from telecommunications, from oil and gas companies, casino companies that were there. it's a relationship building opportunity that is based on them writing a check and having
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this access. pruitt was the chief fund-raiser. he was aggressively raising money from the oil and gas industry. >> oil and gas companies were under threat by the obama epa. pruitt became their biggest champion. from clean air standards to water contamination prevention, pruitt challenged every new epa measure. ultimately suing the epa 14 times in partnership with major industry players. >> the president is not going to fire scott pruitt because he's too good. >> doug is an activist conservative political donor from texas. he loves scott pruitt. >> he is passionate about individual freedom and federalists principals. those are things i'm passionate about. >> they have known each other four years. in that time, he's hosted pruitt in his suite at dallas cowboy football games, introduced him to political organizations and opened doors to wealthy
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republicans who believe like him the epa's policies under obama were unconstitutional and anti-business. he says pruitt is doing exactly what he, more importantly the president wants. >> scott, please. >> destroy the epa. >> the epa obviously needs to go away. the reality is we have a federalist society. most power resides at the states. it was a republican who started the epa. but it was a huge mistake. >> some of the scott pruitt's biggest financial donors when he was running for political office in oklahoma were fossil fuel companies. >> john walk for the natural resources defense counsel fought against pruitt's lawsuits. >> the fact that state attorneys general partner with fossil fuel companies to sue epa is not unusual by itself. the sheer number of cases that scott pruitt brought with big corporations representing fossil
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fuel interests and the degree of interest he had in trying to overturn clean air and clean water protections, that was unusual. >> when eric lipton investigated pruitt's relationship with the energy industry, he found that lobbyists were actually writing the letters pruitt sent to the epa. >> he had simply taken the lobbyist's letter, put it on his letterhead and sent it to the federal government. >> pruitt denies any wrongdoing. >> why do you need an outside oil company to draft a letter when you have 250 people working for you? >> senator, as i indicated, that was an effort that was protecting the state's interest and making sure that we made the voices of all oklahomans heard on an important industry to our state. >> pruitt's two campaigns for attorney general are under question because of $65,000 he paid himself, a cnn analysis found. one election watchdog found the reimbursements from the campaigns are recorded so
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vaguely there's no way to tell if they are legal. a spokesman for pruitt describes the payments as standard reimbursements. the ethical concerns in oklahoma would foreshadow the problems he created when he arrived in d. krcd.c. he made albert kelly, who was banned from banking for agreeing to loans without fdic approval, the head of the super fund cleanup program. task force to address the most toxic and harmful sites across the country. a year later, kelly would resign amid scrutiny over his loans to pruitt. coming up -- >> it's clear they are trying to take down and muzzle scientists. >> pruitt's impact on the environment. >> you said that mr. pruitt knows exactly what he is doing. harming the environment at the behest of industry. putting the public health at risk. is that right? >> that's my view.
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the epa was created nearly 50 years ago in response to public outcry over air and water. the defining moment was when the filthy river spontaneously caught fire.
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in all that time, no one has changed the agency as much as scott pruitt, who is just 15 months into his term. how would you rail mte mr. prui? >> he is clear on the worst side. >> worst. i would say worst. given the fact that i don't think he is focused on the mission of the agency. i'm not sure he makes the list. >> william, christine and gina all three are former epaed aminute straigaed aminute straighters. rickleshouse started the epa and returned under president reagan. whitman worked under george w. bush, gina was the last administrator just before scott pruitt appointed by obama. these former administrators and others cnn has spoken with all
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agree on one thing, scott pruitt is gutting the epa. that says myron is the point. you like scott pruitt where he is? >> yes. scott pruitt is doing a good job at epa implementing the president's agenda. >> he is one of scott pruitt's defenders in washington today. he worked on president trump's tran i transition team and helped pave the way for what is happening at the epa. scott pruitt declined to speak to cnn for this project. your view it? >> it's undoing the regulatory onslaught perpetrated during the obama administration not only on global warming but in other areas. >> the changes in year one have been striking. he embarked on more aggressive deregulation, reversals and environmental rollbacks than any other administrator before him. >> it seemed like he was
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followin a very calculated strategy that had been well laid out far in advance of his actual confirmation. >> betsy souther didn't land la last year writing a scathing letter about her former boss pr pruitt. >> what the industry playbook is hide your science studies that prove your product is causing health affects. number two, hire bogus experts who will attack anybody who says there is an impact from your products. number three, a discredit to anybody who criticizes. number four, endless litigation. pruitt is following every one of those four steps of the playbook. >> the epa itself claims to have completed 24 deregulatory actions with 41 more under development. climate change was at the top of pruitt's list. pruitt openly questions the role humans have on global warming
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and has aggressively brought that skepticism into epa, removing references on the epa's websites. >> scott pruitt who most of you know. >> he was one of the loudest voices pushing president trump to abandon the paris climate accord and he was there when the announcement was made shocking most world leaders. in october, pruitt announced a withdrawal from the clean power plan, which stalled in courts, is designed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from polluters. in january this year, pruitt's epa weakened the clean air act withdrawing regulations on major sources of hazardous air pollutants. in january, the epa announced it would suspend a part of the clean water act designed to limit pollution and this spring the epa proposed changes to regulating coal ash waste and
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announced steps to weaken auto emissions. he does not use science in his decision making. >> what troubled me the most is this disregard for science. this implication that science isn't real. you don't pay attention to it. there's enough uncertainty that you don't want to move forward. that is just very damaging. >> from his earliest days in office, pruitt has met repeatedly with industry representatives and rarely with environmentalists. making key decisions at times shortly after those meetings. pruitt has hired lobbyists to lead operations that used to regulate their industries. internal e-mails shows his team goes to great lengths to make sure he avoids confrontation or opposing thoughts, hiding apeer answers from the media, controlling questions from farmers at a public forum in iowa. we cannot do open q & a from the crowd one e-mail reads. listing approved questions for
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the moderator like, what has it been like to work with president trump? the memos detail how anyone interacting with pruitt is classified as friendly or unfriendly, the unfriendlies, those who challenge his policies, are to be avoided. prescreened friendlies are welcomed with open arms. cnn has been refused access to the administrator. betsy su >> i think he is solely motivated by satisfying his political donors and his political donors are industry and agrabusiness. >> what's it like to be in the epa right now. >> everyone is heartbroken. they have no possibility of influencing decisions because they're not allowed in the discussions where decisions are made. i see it as fundamental public health and safety protection is what's being lost.
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they're repealing any standards or any federal minimum requirements for public health and safety protection. that's not streamlining. that's actually a demolition. >> do you see implementing the policy at the epa to be destroying the epa? >> no. but it's designed to really reform the agency. the last time this -- >> gut it really. >> well, no. i don't think gut it. our nation's environmental statutes are in place. they are being in some sense during the obama years, the statutes were ignored. we have talked to several former administrators of the epa. both sides of the aisle. republicans and democrats. to a person they cannot believe that this is the person that president trump picked to be the top environmental cop for the
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united states. >> well, you know, i have some problems with all of those past administrators, both republican and democrat. >> they felt their mission was to protect the environment. they believe scott pruitt's mission is to protect the polluters. >> i think they're wrong about that. >> are you concerned about the health of the epa? >> yeah. i think if this administration had the timeinclination, they wd permit anything. there are some exceptions. in most cases, they side with the polluters. that's not good for the country. it's not good for the economy. it's not good for democracy. >> the three former administrators say they are worried not only about environmental policy under pruitt, they feel he is abandoning the agency's very purpose and its mission. >> the mission is very clear.
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it's to protect human health and the environment. the end. as far as i'm concerned, scott pruitt is not following the mission. he is undermining the mission. >> it's about kids, it's about the most vulnerable populations and how you establish national stand a standards to protect the health of communities. i have never seen an administrator that spent so little time talking or understanding about the implications of the actions he was taking on the health of the people in this country and beyond. mom? dad? hi! i had a very minor fender bender tonight
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