Walmart passes Apple to become No. 3 online retailer in U.S.

Walmart has overtaken Apple to become the No. 3 online retailer in the U.S., according to a report this week from eMarketer. While Amazon still leads by a wide margin, accounting for 48 percent of e-commerce sales in 2018, Walmart – including also Sam’s Club and Jet.com – is poised to capture 4 percent of all online retail spending in the U.S. by year-end, totaling $20.91 billion.

The news of the shift in e-commerce rankings comes alongside Walmart’s strong earnings which saw the retailer reporting a 43 percent increase in online sales and upping its year-end forecast for both earnings and sales.

The company had beat Wall St.’s expectations in its fiscal third quarter, with $1.08 earnings per share instead of the expected $1.01. However, it fell short on revenue with $124.89 billion versus the $125.55 billion expected, due to currency complications, it said.

eMarketer had estimated in July that Walmart would capture a 3.7 percent e-commerce share in the U.S. this year, but increased that to 4 percent based on its quickly growing online sales.

This year, Walmart’s online sales will grow by 39.4 percent – just slightly behind the growth rate for online furniture and home goods retailer Wayfair, which is expected to see sales grow by 40.1 percent, the firm also noted.

Apple, meanwhile, will grow just over 18 percent in 2018 – a slowdown related to slowing domestic sales for smartphones and other devices. Its portion of the e-commerce market is relatively unchanged from 2017 to 2018, going from 3.8 percent to 3.9 percent.

Walmart, by comparison, is increasing its share from 3.3 percent to 4.0 percent.

But both are behind eBay, now at 7.2 percent. And they’re both vastly outranked by Amazon, which will account for a whopping 48 percent of the U.S. e-commerce market in 2018, up from 43.1 percent last year.

Amazon will take in more than $252.10 billion domestically this year, eMarketer said.

“Walmart’s e-commerce business has been firing on all cylinders lately,” said eMarketer principal analyst Andrew Lipsman, said in a statement. “The retail giant continues to make smart acquisitions to extend its e-commerce portfolio and attract younger and more affluent shoppers. But more than anything, Walmart has caught its stride with a fast-growing online grocery business, which is helped in large part by the massive consumer adoption of click-and-collect.”

UPDATE 9-California searches for 1,000 missing in its deadliest fire

(Recasting with latest tallies of confirmed dead and missing)

By Terray Sylvester

PARADISE, Calif., Nov 16 (Reuters) – Recovery teams with cadaver dogs pressed on with their search for more victims in a flame-ravaged northern California town on Friday as authorities sought clues to the fate of more than 1,000 people reported missing in the deadliest wildfire in state history.

Remains of at least 71 people have been recovered so far in and around the Sierra foothills hamlet of Paradise, which was home to nearly 27,000 residents before the town was largely incinerated by the deadly Camp Fire on the night of Nov. 8.

More than a week later, firefighters have managed to carve containment lines around 45 percent of the blaze’s perimeter, up from 35 percent a day earlier, even as the burned landscape grew slightly to 142,000 acres (57,000 hectares).

Besides the toll on human life, property losses from the blaze make it California’s most the destructive on record, posing a challenge of providing long-term shelter for many thousands of displaced residents.

With more than 12,000 homes and other structures up in smoke, many refugees from the fire have taken up temporary residence with friends and family, while others have pitched tents or were camping out of their vehicles.

More than 1,100 evacuees were being housed in 14 emergency shelters set up in churches, schools and community centers around the region, American Red Cross spokeswoman Greta Gustafson said.

Authorities said more than 47,000 people in all remain under evacuation orders in the region.

Search teams, meanwhile, combed through charred, rubble-strewn expanses of burned-out neighborhoods looking for bodies – or anything else that might carry human DNA for identification purposes.

On Friday night, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the latest official roster of people reported unaccounted for by loved ones had grown to 1,011 or nearly 400 more names than were posted Thursday night and more than three times the number counted as missing on Thursday afternoon.

“This is a dynamic list,” Honea told reporters at a news conference, explaining that the list was compiled from “raw data” that likely included some duplication of names due to possible spelling errors and multiple sources of information.

But the sheriff said he was determined to release an unrefined version of the list so as not to “let perfection get in the way of progress” authorities hope to make in resolving the fate of those still missing.

Meanwhile, the remains of eight more fire victims were recovered on Friday, bringing the death toll to 71, he said.

Some of those still unaccounted for have likely survived but not yet notified family or authorities that they are alive, either because they lack telephone service or are unaware anyone is looking for them, authorities said. On the other hand, there may be some people who perished but whose relatives have yet to report them missing. Communication disruptions after the fire have added to the confusion.

The disaster already ranks among the deadliest wildfires in the United States since the turn of the last century.

Authorities attribute the death toll partly to the speed with which flames raced through the town with little advance warning, driven by howling winds and fueled by drought-desiccated scrub and trees.

Reporting by Terray Sylvester; additional reporting by Alex
Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee,
Jonathan Allen in New York; Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago
Writing by Nick Carey, Bill Trott and Steve Gorman; editing by
Grant McCool and Clive McKeef

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/companyNews/~3/uCwu1nxrGt8/update-9-california-searches-for-1000-missing-in-its-deadliest-fire-idUSL2N1XS00V

Now The Government Says The White Supremacist They Arrested Called The Mail Bombs A “Dry Run,” Not The Pittsburgh Shooting

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in Washington, DC, have walked back a statement in court filings linking a white supremacist arrested on firearms charges with the alleged Pittsburgh synagogue shooter.

In a criminal complaint unsealed Nov. 13 in federal district court in Washington, an FBI special agent stated that the defendant, DC resident Jeffrey Clark Jr., posted a photo of alleged Pittsburgh shooter Robert Bowers on the social network Gab, known as a hub for the alt-right, and the comment: “Nah he was BASED! Get used to it libtards. This was a dry run for things to come.”

The agent wrote: “This statement implies that Jeffery Clark did know more about the attack in the Tree-of-Life synagogue, and that there was more to come.”

But at a detention hearing for Clark on Friday, Assistant US Attorney John Cummings Jr. told the judge that the government now believed Clark was referring to the arrest of Cesar Sayoc, the man charged with sending explosive devices to CNN and a number of current and past Democratic officials. Clark had also posted what appeared to be a photo of Sayoc’s van.

Clark’s lawyer David Bos asked US Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey to free Clark pending trial, and argued that in light of the government’s change in position about the meaning of Clark’s posts — and after numerous media outlets, including BuzzFeed News, ran stories highlighting Clark’s apparent reference to the synagogue shooting — the judge should be skeptical about the prosecution’s representations now.

Harvey ultimately granted the government’s request to keep Clark held pending trial. He found that given the combination of the evidence against Clark related to his possession of firearms, drug use, and threatening statements online — the judge said it appeared Clark wanted to start a race revolution — Clark posed a danger to the community.

The judge did press Cummings about the shifting interpretations of Clark’s Gab posts. Cummings said that when Clark made his initial appearance in court on Nov. 13, Cummings told the judge that they were continuing to investigate Clark’s statements. Once prosecutors had more information, he said they told Clark’s lawyer, and noted it in the written request for pretrial detention filed the day before the hearing.

Clark, wearing an orange prison uniform, did not speak for most of Friday’s hearing. He did not appear to have a strong reaction when the judge announced he would stay in custody pending trial. Harvey told Clark that he could appeal the judge’s decision with the US district judge taking over the case, and Clark said he understood.

Clark is due back in court before US District Judge Timothy Kelly for a status hearing on Nov. 27.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Clark on Thursday, charging the DC resident with unlawfully possessing firearms as the user of a controlled substance, which is a felony; Cummings said there was evidence Clark smoked marijuana, which is legal to possess in Washington, DC, but still illegal under federal law, on a daily basis. He was also charged with possessing a large-capacity ammunition magazine in violation of DC law.

Clark entered a plea of not guilty on Friday. His lawyer hinted at possible future First Amendment and Second Amendment challenges in the case — the judge noted that the federal firearms-plus-drugs charge Clark faced was rarely used.

According to the FBI agent’s affidavit in the original criminal complaint, Clark had posted online that the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting “deserved exactly what happened to them and so much worse.” After the shooting, two of Clark’s relatives contacted the FBI to express concern that he was a danger to himself and others. When the relatives went to check on Clark, he gave them four boxes of “parts to weapons” that weren’t registered to Clark or to his brother, who committed suicide hours after the Pittsburgh attack, according to the FBI.

Law enforcement recovered multiple firearms — most registered to Clark or his brother, but one gun that was not — as well as evidence of marijuana use, according to Cummings. The FBI agent’s earlier affidavit noted that Clark’s Gab profile included the phrase “Meth-Smoking” as part of his self description, but Cummings said a drug test didn’t find any evidence of methamphetamines.

If convicted of the more serious felony charge, Cummings said on Friday that Clark faced an estimated sentencing range of 15 to 21 months in prison, given his lack of previous criminal history.

Rep. Ruben Kihuen Has Been Reprimanded By The House Ethics Committee After He Was Accused Of Sexual Harassment By Multiple Women

The House Ethics Committee reprimanded outgoing Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen on Friday for making “persistent and unwanted advances” toward women required to interact with him for work, but did not recommend any disciplinary action against him.

Kihuen was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment starting last year when BuzzFeed News first reported on allegations of one woman, Sam, who said she left her job working as Kihuen’s campaign finance director because of his repeated harassment.

Because of the allegations, the congressman — once seen as a rising star in the Democratic caucus — chose not to run for reelection. The allegations led to the Ethics Committee investigation, but its report, which includes a decision to “reprove” Kihuen, was not made public until Friday.

Reproval by the committee is “intended to be a clear public statement of rebuke of a Member’s conduct issued by a body of that Member’s peers.” The report states that the could have “sought harsher sanctions” but found reproval to be the “appropriate” step. The committee would have lost jurisdiction over Kihuen when he is officially no longer a member of Congress.

In the course of its investigation of the allegations against Kihuen, the committee interviewed three women who said he sexually harassed them, including Sam.

“I definitely feel very relieved because, I mean, I probably shouldn’t have done this, but I read comments that people posted online,” Sam told BuzzFeed News on Friday after the Ethics Committee’s report came out. She added some of the comments had questioned whether she was telling the truth. “I think it’s important for the Ethics Committee to say, yes we believe these women, and no, we don’t think this behavior is OK.”

“I mostly just feel very relieved.”

Sam said that the Ethics Committee had not reached out to her to let her know the investigation had reached its conclusion and that she first learned about it from BuzzFeed News.

The committee’s report on Kihuen noted similarities in the allegations “[bolstered] the credibility of the complainants.” None of the women were named in the report, but Sam, who was identified as “Campaign Staffer,” and another woman identified as a “Nevada Lobbyist” both testified that Kihuen touched their thighs while in a car with him, according to the report.

Among the report’s other findings:

  • Sam and the “Nevada Lobbyist” testified that Kihuen grabbed their thighs or buttocks while alone with Kihuen in an office.

  • The “DC Firm Employee” and “Nevada Lobbyist” testified “and/or produced evidence” that Kihuen brought up their work and career advancement while making sexual advances.

In a statement on Friday after the report was made public, Kihuen said he recognized that “regardless of the fact that I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable or disrespected, what matters is how my actions were perceived by the women who came forward. It saddens me greatly to think I made any woman feel that way due to my own immaturity and overconfidence. I extend my sincere apologies to each of these women.”

He went on to say that he does “not agree with aspects of the Report.”

Trump Administration Again Considering Ways To Force People To Wait In Mexico For Their Immigration Cases

US immigration officials met this week to discuss a proposal to send those who arrive at the US-Mexico border to Mexico while their immigration cases are being processed in the United States, according to sources close to the administration.

The meeting, which included officials from US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and US Customs and Border Protection, was meant so officials could consider a potential regulation that would apply immediately to individuals at the US-Mexico border, including asylum applicants.

Such a proposal would forgo the normally deliberative system that allows for public comment before a new rule is implemented. The ACLU recently sued the administration for following such a process when it instituted major changes to asylum applications at the border.

It’s unclear how the Mexican government would react to such a proposal. The discussions appear to be a renewed effort to discuss a proposal first raised in an executive order signed by Trump in 2017. The Mexican government previously publicly rejected those plans, and the Trump administration made no effort to implement the president’s instructions.

An administration source said that discussions with the Mexican government are ongoing.

“Implementing this policy without prior approval from Mexico would be extremely detrimental for the US’s relationship with the new Mexican administration,” said Sarah Pierce, an analyst at Migration Policy Institute. “If they move forward with this, it could result in Central American asylum seekers waiting in Mexico for months or even years.”

Trump administration officials have long complained that limited detention space forces them to release migrants who then live in the country for months or years as they wait for their case to be heard in immigration courts.

The Trump administration has recently imposed a series of new policies intended to limit asylum as an avenue for entering the United States, including a recent move to block asylum for those who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

The Supreme Court Will Hear Arguments Over What Evidence Can Be Used In The Census Citizenship Question Case

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in February over what evidence should be allowed in a legal challenge to the Census citizenship question.

If the Justice Department is successful in its arguments, those challenging agency actions of all stripes could face additional limits on how they can make their cases in the future.

The case out of New York — in which governments and immigrant organizations challenge Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to include a question about citizenship in the once-a-decade count — has already been before the justices repeatedly.

The Justice Department first asked the justices to halt depositions that US District Judge Jesse Furman ordered of two officials and stop expanded discovery in the case, but the court only put one of the depositions, that of Ross, on hold.

The department then returned to the justices, asking them to halt a trial that was scheduled to start on Nov. 5. The Supreme Court denied the request.

Ross announced earlier this year that the question would be included in the forms that collect information for the census. The challenges have raised questions about Ross’s motives, the Justice Department’s role in that decision, and whether others — including the White House and outside figures — influenced the move. The addition of the question, which has not been included in the census since 1950, has been opposed not only by immigrant groups and Democrats but also by former directors of the census under presidents of both parties and the agency’s own scientists.

The trial itself went forward, and it is now — with the exception of Ross’s sought testimony and closing arguments — done. Closing arguments are set for Nov. 27, but it was not immediately clear how Friday’s Supreme Court order will affect the closing arguments or Furman’s resolution of the trial.

The question before the justices in the case accepted on Friday, however, could complicate that. The justices will consider the Justice Department’s argument about what evidence should be allowed in the case, a challenge under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Ordinarily, the evidence in such cases is limited to the administrative record prepared by the agency — essentially a collection of documents involving the decision in question, the reasons the agency gave for the decision, and certain related documents. There are exceptions, however, including if the court finds “a strong showing of bad faith or improper behavior” on the part of the decisionmaker.

In this case, the district court had ordered additional evidence sought by the challengers outside of the administrative record because it had found a strong showing of bad faith on the part of the Commerce Department. Specifically, Furman ordered the additional discovery due to questions about Ross’s stated reason for including the citizenship question, which was, he said, to assist the Justice Department with meeting its obligations under the Voting Rights Act.

Although Ross’s March decision initially was presented as having been generated from a request made by the Justice Department, information made public since then showed that the efforts regarding the question’s inclusion came first from the Commerce Department itself — which sought the Justice Department’s assistance in justifying the addition of the question. (The then-head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, John Gore, was the second deposition sought in the case. He had drafted the letter later sent to the Commerce Department. His deposition was not halted by the Supreme Court and took place before the trial began.)

Further information suggested that Ross and the Commerce Department had, in turn, received information about the issue from a White House-prompted discussion between Ross and then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — a “voter fraud” hardliner who has had his claims rejected in court. Kobach had been in communication with the Commerce Department, per an email made public earlier this year, “on the direction of Steve Bannon” — the former senior strategist to Trump. The Justice Department later acknowledged even further entanglement, stating in a court filing in October that Ross “recalls” that Bannon had called him in the early months of the Trump administration and asked if he would be willing to talk with Kobach about the issue.

The Justice Department argued that the Supreme Court should hear the challenge because, it argues, the additional evidence, including the attempt to depose Ross, amounts to an effort “to probe the mental processes of the agency decisionmaker.”

New York and the other states challenging the question’s inclusion opposed the Justice Department’s request for the Supreme Court to hear the case, arguing that the standards for allowing evidence in administrative action challenges outside of the administrative record are well established and were adhered to by the district court in this case.

The Justice Department counters that “as long as the decisionmaker sincerely believes the stated grounds on which he ultimately bases his decision, and does not irreversibly prejudge the decision or act on a legally forbidden basis, neither initial inclinations nor additional subjective motives constitute bad faith or improper bias” that would allow the court to order additional evidence be added to the record.

Briefing in the case will take place on an expedited schedule ordered by the court on Friday, with the Justice Department’s opening brief due Dec. 17, the challengers’ responses due on Jan. 17, and the department’s reply due on Feb. 4. The oral argument in the case is scheduled for Feb. 19.

The Boring Company goes brick-and-mortar with The Brick Store

Elon Musk has shot out some crazy, unbelievable tweets over the last year, but he wasn’t joking about the bricks. Musk has started a company called The Brick Store LLC to produce and sell bricks, according to public documents obtained by TechCrunch.

The new company, which was founded in July, will be managed by Steve Davis, the ex-SpaceX engineer who is also running The Boring Company (TBC).

TBC is developing new tunneling and transportation technologies, and the bricks will be made from soil displaced by the company’s tunnel-boring machines. Elon Musk has tweeted that the bricks could cost as little as 10 cents each, and might even be given away to affordable housing projects.

The Brick Store’s first physical outlet will be a far cry from Tesla’s sleek, designer showrooms. Planning documents submitted to Hawthorne, a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, show a rundown stucco building about a mile from TBC and SpaceX’s headquarters. Forbidding black steel security grilles “will be utilized … to accent the entrances and windows,” TBC wrote in its application to repaint the building.

Despite these design flourishes, TBC did not select the building for its aesthetic appeal. The building — formerly housing a kitchen cabinet business — is located above an exit tunnel that TBC is digging to extract the boring machine from its first test tunnel. This is intended to showcase Loop, a proposed underground transportation system carrying people or cars on self-contained electric skates traveling at up to 150 miles per hour.

The tunnel was originally planned to stretch around two miles under public roads from a parking structure next to SpaceX. However, in April this year, TBC used a subsidiary to quietly buy the Hawthorne corner lot, which sits about halfway along the planned route, for $2 million.

In July, TBC asked Hawthorne for permission to use that lot to build an access shaft to extract its tunnel-boring machine, which, because it cannot move backwards, would otherwise have been abandoned at the end of the excavation.

The same month, Musk founded The Brick Store, whose purpose, according to state filings, is the “manufacture and sale of bricks.” TBC has already produced some structures from bricks made from tunnel spoil, and Musk tweeted yesterday that they would be used to build a watchtower at the entrance to the tunnel.

Turning tunnel waste into a valuable commodity fits in with Musk’s environmental leanings — and will save TBC from the cost of disposing all that dirt. TBC has even suggested that the bricks could potentially be used as part of the tunnel lining itself. Musk has previously said that the tunnel would officially open on December 10.

TBC did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this story.

Bricks made from everyday soil, usually called compressed earth blocks (CEB), date back to ancient times. CEBs are still used in developing countries today, and are part of building codes in California and New Mexico. But even there, the market for them is tiny — possibly because CEB buildings can be awkward to build, wire and insulate. BC has even suggested that the bricks could potentially be used as part of the tunnel lining itself.

Dwell Earth sells machines that produce CEBs by applying pressure to a mixture of earth and a little cement.

“Elon seems to have a way of bringing energy and talent to big challenges, and we are happy to see that he may be as excited about [CEBs] as we are,” Dwell Earths founder Bob de Jong told TechCrunch.

The Boring Company

TBC received around $112 million from Musk earlier this year. These funds will be used to build a number of tunnels around the country, including a Loop to connect Dodger Stadium to the subway in L.A., one that would link Chicago and O’Hare airport, as well as an ambitious commuter Loop between Washington, D.C. and Maryland.

These projects could be thwarted, or at least delayed, because of an increasingly heated trade war between the U.S. and China.

TBC lawyers wrote to the United States Trade Representative in July that the tariffs imposed by President Trump on Chinese-tunneling machine parts, among other products, would delay its projects by up to two years and mean lost job opportunities. The company asked for an exemption from the tariffs that has not yet been granted.

If there’s anyone who can re-brand dirt and build a market for CEBs, it’s Elon Musk. But even if The Brick Store’s bricks don’t raise enough money for a Mars mission or save the planet, at least they are a little more practical than a novelty “not a flamethrower.”

Here’s What’s Happening In The Florida Senate Race — And Why The Republican Will Probably Win

Everyone has kept an eye on the goings on in the Sunshine State since election night, and for good reason: several state-side contests eroded into recount territory.

Let’s set aside all the assumed conspiratorial nonsense about stolen votes and get down to what we know went wrong in one particular county and how it may be impacting the closest statewide race of national interest, the U.S. Senate contest between incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson and current Governor Rick Scott.

Election night discrepancies

All counties are required to report their early (that’s in-person early) vote by 7:30pm EDT on Election Day. Sixty-six counties in the state compiled, but Broward, per the Florida Secretary of State’s tracker late into the week, failed to do so. There has been some back and forth on Twitter as to the letter of the law, perhaps giving some wiggle room to Broward, but whatever the excuses, every other county found a way to comply with this reporting deadline.

Vote count changes after election day

Absentee and provisional ballots, along with some early votes in Broward, were added to the reported totals over the next 96 hours. Scott went from a 50,000+ vote edge to just over 12,500 with these updates, enough to push the contest well beyond machine into hand recount territory.

Let’s sue everyone

Scott attempted to force the impoundment of ballots and voting machines in Broward County, a motion rejected by a judge on Monday, and a similar motion involving Palm Beach County was rejected Tuesday. A Broward County judge sided with Scott on the matter of voter information (ballots cast, counted and yet to be counted) in a suit against the county’s Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes. Scott also won a suit against Hillsborough County that had alleged observers were not being allowed into the recount room (in violation of state law). It wouldn’t be a Florida recount without additional lawsuits, of course: Common Cause and the League of Women Voters filed a suit earlier this week to block Scott from involvement in the recount. The governor has since recused himself from the certification process.

Bad ballot design cost Nelson (and Scott!) thousands of votes

The ballot design across the county placed the Senate contest directly underneath of the ballot instructions. If this sounds bad, well, it is: the U.S. Election Assistance Commission urges election officials not to do this, but Broward went ahead and did so anyway.

A strong theory floated by Democratic consultant Matt Isbell argues that busy voters missed the race entirely because of this ballot placement. The other argument, pushed by Nelson’s lawyers, is that this undervote is actually a machine error, one that could be revealed in a hand recount.

But the results from the hand recount, trickled out by the press Friday, proved Isbell’s theory to be the correct one: Few people in the undervote ballots cast for Senate.

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines

The machine recount had been completed and reported to the state 3pm EST on Thursday, November 15th. Both Palm Beach AND Broward missed the machine recount deadlines, so their original counts were reported as part of the machine recount (PBC still has a few days to report a final machine recount for state records). A manual recount of the overvotes and undervotes set-aside from the machine recount must be completed by November 18th.

What this all likely means

The confirmation of genuine undervoting in Broward has basically assured Rick Scott his victory in this tight race. Nelson was delivered a blow perhaps as fatal as Broward’s phantom votes Thursday: U.S. District Judge Mark Walker rejected Nelson’s challenge to the hand recount rules.

The math simply isn’t there for Nelson — he needed that undervote to have been missed votes and sympathetic court rulings to allow for extensions on provisional ballot confirmations and on what constitutes valid signatures and ballots and for those provisional and rejected mail-in ballots to exceed his current deficit.

Trump Chooses New Permanent EPA Chief: Former Coal Lobbyist Andrew Wheeler

President Donald Trump on Friday said he’s going to nominate Andrew Wheeler to formally take over the Environmental Protection Agency.

Wheeler has been the acting head of the agency since July, when Scott Pruitt stepped down from the role amid multiple ethics scandals. Under Wheeler’s watch, the EPA announced it is rolling back car emission standards and proposed a weaker replacement to the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which regulated coal pollution.

Wheeler’s nomination had been rumored for weeks. As the nominee, he will have to go through another Senate confirmation, which he already passed when he became deputy administrator earlier this year.

Trump said Wheeler has “done a fantastic job” and “is going to be made permanent.”

Before joining Trump’s EPA earlier this year, Wheeler led the energy and environment portfolio at Faegre Baker Daniels, a consulting law firm. In that role, he lobbied for the coal mining company Murray Energy Corporation on environmental regulations.

This is a developing story.