"He came to me and said I have such great confidence in the administration I don't want to be a distraction", he said.
While Pruitt arrived in Washington as part of President Trump's promised wave of outsiders hoping to shake up the Capital, Wheeler has spent years navigating the intricacies of environmental policy. It's still unclear. What we do know: His replacement, Andrew Wheeler, holds views similar to Pruitt's.
Beyer and Lieu said a number of meetings that have been mentioned in news reports or confirmed by EPA representatives do not appear on Pruitt's official schedule, including meetings with an energy lobbyist, the chief executive officer of a shipping company and a coal company - industries regulated by the EPA - as well as one with a man charged in another country with sexual offenses. Pruitt's management of the agency has prompted a series of investigations.
He denied wrongdoing amid multiple inquiries into his conduct. President Trump tweeted on Thursday, announcing Pruitt's departure from the EPA.
Asked by Sciutto how Democrats would block Wheeler should he go through the confirmation process, Sanders said they will need to "get a handful of Republican senators ... and get them on board to demand that Trump appoint an EPA administrator who represents the American people and not just the fossil fuel industry". The company paid Wheeler's firm at least $300,000 each year between 2009 and 2017, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Although Pruitt has always been known for his high-profile appearances dating back to his successful run for Oklahoma attorney general, reports paint Wheeler as a quieter political actor.
The list of regulations opens with a letter addressed to Vice Pres. Mike Pence that states: "Enclosed is an Action Plan for the Administration of President Donald J. Trump, which will help in getting America's coal miners back to work".
He also oversaw large raises to favorite aides, reportedly against the express wishes of the White House. James Inhofe, one of Washington's most prominent climate change denialists, according to the Post. Trump says Pruitt is "a terrific guy". "Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this".