The New York Times reports:
Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, dined last year in Rome with Cardinal George Pell, a prominent climate-science denialist and Vatican leader who was also facing sexual abuse allegations. The E.P.A. later released official descriptions of the dinner that intentionally did not mention the cardinal’s presence, according to three current and former E.P.A. officials.
Kevin Chmielewski, Mr. Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff for operations, said in an interview that top political appointees at the agency feared that the meeting would reflect poorly on Mr. Pruitt if it were made public. Twenty days after the dinner, authorities in Australia charged Cardinal Pell with sexual assault; he has denied the charges.
“It was a no-brainer,” Mr. Chmielewski said of the decision to keep Cardinal Pell’s participation quiet. His account was confirmed by two people who were familiar with the handling of the trip, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern over retribution.
The EPA claims that they had no idea that Pell would be at the dinner, but a FOIA demand filed by the Times reveals the below scheduling notation. The Times further reveals tonight that much of Pruitt’s time in Rome was spent at events arranged by the far-right Federalist Society. Oh yes, hit that link.
JUST POSTED: Top EPA officials INTENTIONALLY moved to keep off the EPA official public schedule that Scott Pruitt had met with Cardinal at Vatican being investigated for sexual abuse. What matters here is playing with the schedule. with @LFFriedman https://t.co/0WsWeLcTbX
— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) May 11, 2018