Even by Trump administration standards, Scott Pruitt is a fucking mess, and as his day of reckoning looms, his staff are doing everything they can to take the heat off their boss, which is why Pruitt press-staffer Michael Abboud approached multiple reporters to give them dirt on Pruitt archrival Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Hilariously, the story that Abboud was shipping on Zinke was that Zinke's staffers had been shopping dirt on Pruitt, to distract from Zinke's own scandals.
Zinke complained about this to Trump, and now the Presidential Personnel Office is furious at both of them.
On Wednesday, a PPO official called top aides at the EPA "enraged" about Abboud's efforts, according to a senior EPA official. The PPO official inquired whether Abboud was a "Schedule C" appointee, which would place him within PPO's jurisdiction and thus give it the ability to fire him. But the official was informed that Abboud is an "administratively determined" hire, which means that only Pruitt himself has the ability to fire him. It is unclear the extent to which Pruitt was aware of these events.
Even so, the message from PPO, according to the senior official, was: "Basically, y'all are in trouble." A White House official with knowledge of the events added: "Absolutely nothing Scott Pruitt did would surprise me."
Heather Swift, a spokeswoman for Interior, and Raj Shah, a spokesman for the White House, both declined to comment.
A Pruitt Aide's Attack on Zinke Angers the White House [Elaina Plott/The Atlantic]