Pruitt’s congressional appearances this week could mark the second formal time the Oklahoma native will be confronted with pointed questions about recent reports regarding ethics concerns. Three weeks ago he appeared on Fox News against advice from White House media specialists, the sources said.
“I don’t think that that’s even remotely fair to ask that question,” Pruitt responded.
The EPA did not respond to a request for comment on Pruitt's preparations for this week's hearing.
Pruitt has been the focus of a raft of media reports over the past several weeks. Those reports described efforts to secure raises for several of his top aides, despite objections from the White House; costly travel expenses and questionable changes to his office, all done under the guise of boosting security for Pruitt.
But sources familiar with Pruitt’s prep sessions for two congressional hearings scheduled for Thursday say the group sessions have focused almost exclusively on policy matters, and not on the multiple looming controversies. His chief of staff, Oklahoma City native Ryan Jackson, has been quarterbacking the sessions. Earlier this month, it was Jackson who took responsibility for securing raises for several of Pruitt’s top aides – something Pruitt said had occurred without his knowledge.
On Tuesday, Pruitt unveiled a new rule for how the EPA would limit the use of scientific materials to only research that makes the underlying raw data publicly available. Pruitt says the change will allow for more transparency. Critics, including former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, say it could disqualify some of the research that forms the basis of regulations intended to protect public health.
Ahead of his expecting grilling on Capitol Hill, Pruitt still has the support of conservative leaders outside of Congress, who co-signed a letter earlier this month thanking Trump for standing by Pruitt.
"He’s one of the strongest members of the Cabinet in achieving President Trump’s agenda of draining the swamp," Jenny Beth Martin, the chairman of the Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund, said in an interview.
"The grassroots across this country like what Scott Pruitt is doing," she said, adding that her group would likely encourage members to support Pruitt later this week.
Conservatives outside the administration have remained in contact with the White House, and have expressed support for Pruitt, sources familiar with the conversations tell ABC News.
ABC News' Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.