Republican-led House panel orders interviews with Pruitt aides at EPA

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt listens as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Republican-led House of Representatives committee wrote to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Friday to demand interviews with five top aides, including his security chief.

The letter from Representative Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House oversight panel, ordered the agency to make appointments for the aides for interviews by April 27.

It also asked for a wide range of documents related to the EPA administrator's travel and security arrangements, following written requests for other material earlier this week and in February.

There was no immediate response from the EPA to a request for comment.

Pruitt has been under fire by Democrats and some Republicans for frequent first-class air travel, including a trip to Italy that cost $43,000, not including security detail.

President Donald Trump has supported Pruitt, but said he would take a look into the allegations.

The letter from Gowdy ordered Pruitt's Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson, Deputy Chief of Staff Kevin Chmielewski, security chief Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta; Millian Hupp, the director of scheduling and advance; and Sarah Greenwalt, senior counsel, to schedule interviews with committee investigators.

On Wednesday, Gowdy sent a letter to Pruitt complaining that despite earlier requests, the EPA had not provided requested documents about expensive air travel, including documents related to any threats that had been made on Pruitt.

Gowdy also asked Pruitt in the Wednesday letter to provide documents on a lease for a condo that he rented from Vicki Hart, the wife of a lobbyist who works for companies regulated by the EPA, which has been criticized for the low rate of $50 per day charged to Pruitt when he stayed there.

(Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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