Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt isn't going down without a fight.
The EPA chief has had a fraught couple of weeks, plagued by numerous ethics scandals that are sure to be a focus when he testifies before Congress on Thursday. But he's ready to tell lawmakers that there's plenty of blame to go around, according to talking points obtained by The New York Times on Wednesday.
Pruitt and his staff have reportedly prepared a list of responses to "hot topics" that may come up during his hearings with a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee and the House Appropriations Committee. If lawmakers ask about his taking lavish first-class flights that racked up massive taxpayer-funded travel bills, for example, Pruitt plans to say that his security team advised him to do so, and point out that he has "been flying coach" more recently. In response to questions about controversial raises to his favorite aides, he'll say that someone else handled staffing logistics, reports the Times.
Pruitt's opening statement focuses on his work on environmental policy and makes no mention of his ethics issues, but he is apparently expecting quite a grilling regarding the 10 investigations he is currently facing by government watchdog groups.
The document's veracity was not disputed by the EPA, the Times reports, but it's possible that Pruitt's answers will change between the time of creating the talking points and his hearing Thursday. Read more at The New York Times.