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UPDATE 2-Trump sticks by EPA chief as lawmakers call for resignation

(Adds Republican lawmakers calling on Pruitt to resign)

WASHINGTON, April 3 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday expressed support for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, as U.S. Congress members including two fellow Republicans called for Pruitt's resignation after reports he paid far below market rates to live in a condo owned by a lobbyist.

Trump, in an appearance with Baltic leaders at the White House, answered a question about Pruitt by saying, "I hope hes going to be great."

The White House is reviewing the Environmental Protection Agency chief's activities after reports about his link to the lobbyist, who deals with issues overseen by the agency, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Several lawmakers called for Pruitt's resignation on Tuesday, including Republican Representatives Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The EPA inspector general was already investigating Pruitt's frequent use of first-class flights and installation of a $43,000 secure phone booth to conduct confidential calls.

Pruitt's "corruption scandals are an embarrassment to the Administration, and his conduct is grossly disrespectful to American taxpayers. It's time for him to resign or for zPOTUS to dismiss him," Curbelo, a moderate Republican, said on Twitter.

Ros-Lehtinen, who is not seeking re-election, said in a statement she agreed Pruitt should step down.

Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who fiercely opposes slashing environmental regulations, asked the EPA's inspector general to investigate the condo issue.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox defended Pruitt's record, from pushing to leave the Paris climate pact to working to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama era program to cut greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel-burning electricity plants. Wilcox said Pruitt was "focused on advancing President Trumps agenda of regulatory certainty and environmental stewardship."

Trump called Pruitt on Monday night with a reassuring message, an administration official said on Tuesday. "Scott, keep your head up. Keep fighting. We've got your back," Trump told Pruitt, the official told Reuters.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly phoned Pruitt on Tuesday morning to reinforce the message, the official said.

A White House official, asked for comment, said only that the two calls had taken place and would not elaborate.

Lawmakers on Sunday predicted in television interviews that Pruitt might not survive long in his job after the condo reports.

Trump has been retooling his Cabinet, ousting last month both David Shulkin as secretary of the Veterans Administration and Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. (Reporting By Steve Holland, Timothy Gardner, Doina Chiacu; Editing by David Gregorio)