Report: EPA Staffer Leaked Negative Stories on Interior’s Ryan Zinke to Take Heat Off Scott Pruitt

A member of the Environmental Protection Agency press team shared negative stories about Interior Department Administrator Ryan Zinke with reporters in an effort to take “the heat off of [EPA Administrator] Pruitt,” according to The Atlantic. Michael Abboud, who works on Scott Pruitt’s press team, reportedly shared a story with the press alleging an “Interior staffer conspired with former EPA deputy chief of staff Kevin Chmielewski to leak damaging information about the EPA[.]” Interior staffers started getting calls from reporters, who then reported the conduct to the White House Presidential Personnel Office when they discovered that Abboud was the source. The PPO is reportedly “enraged.” In his position at the EPA, Abboud can only be fired by Pruitt himself. EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said that the events “did not happen, and it’s categorically false.”