Embattled Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt on Tuesday strongly denied a report that he had asked Trump to fire Jeff Sessions and make him the next attorney general.
Citing three people "familiar with the proposal," CNN first reported that Pruitt told Trump in an Oval Office meeting this spring that he wanted to take Sessions' job temporarily before running for office in Oklahoma.
"100 percent false – could not be further from the truth," Pruitt told Fox News. He said later: "This report is simply false. General Sessions and I are friends and I have always said I want nothing more than to see him succeed in his role."
The Justice Department had no comment.
Pruitt has faced a barrage of ethics complaints and federal inquiries. The EPA's inspector general, the Government Accountability Office and the White House are investigating numerous allegations concerning Pruitt's spending on first-class travel and security, his dealings with subordinates and with lobbyists, and other matters.
On Monday, reports surfaced that Pruitt may have maintained private calendars, separate from his official ones, in a possible violation of his public reporting obligations. And on Tuesday, reports claimed Pruitt made staffers put hotel reservations on their personal credit cards, and in at least one case, failed to reimburse them.
"The reports are troublesome. It's something we’re taking a look at."
On Air Force One on Tuesday, White House officials said President Trump was "aware" of the latest reports about Pruitt.
"The reports are troublesome," Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said. "It's something we’re taking a look at -- if we have something to announce, we’ll let you know."
Gidley added some praise for Pruitt after noting that the president found the latest allegations against him to be concerning.
"We’ve been very clear the reports that have come out are something he’s [Trump] concerned about," Gidley said. "Pruitt has done a good job at deregulating the economy."
Pruitt, in appearances before congressional hearings this spring, has denied responsibility for any ethical lapses, saying subordinates made those decisions.
Fox News' John Roberts, Jennifer Bowman, Bill Mears and Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.