EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Is a Victim of ‘Washington Politics,' Says Senior Texas Republican

Updated at 11:15 a.m. with additional information.WASHINGTON — A senior North Texas Republican on Thursday came to the defense of embattled Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, saying the Cabinet member is "not the first person to be the victim of ... Washington politics."Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, offered that cover as Pruitt testified on Capitol Hill amid ongoing controversy over allegations of excessive spending and ethical mishaps.The Texan suggested that Pruitt was an easy target for Democrats because of his policy positions, such as "fighting some of the Obama administration radical clean air policies." He explained that if "you can't debate policies in Washington, you attack the personality.""That's what happening to you," Barton told Pruitt, adding later that the EPA chief's penchant for flying first class "may look bad, but it's not illegal."Barton, who is retiring this year amid scandal over lewd photos he sent in an extramarital affair, is no stranger to taking those kinds of stands. He gained notoriety in 2010, for instance, by apologizing to BP for the White House's tough response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.  Continue reading...

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