April 26, 2018

Scott Pruitt's oversight hearing was buried under the Diamond & Silk hearings, Trump's disastrous Fox & Friends interview, Ronny Jackson's withdrawal, and the Cosby verdict, but it shouldn't have been, because it was a magnificent example of corruption in the Trump era.

For his part, Pruitt was unapologetic about all of his corrupt ways. He explained away his $43,000 phone booth as something staff did when he had a hissy fit about taking one call -- ONE SINGLE CALL -- in his office for which he needed to be on a secure phone. Apparently it was too difficult for King Koch Pruitt to go to the SCIF prepared for secure conversations located in other areas of the building.

Or perhaps he thought a $43,000 phone booth in his office was cheaper than rounding up the entourage of security people around him to head for the SCIF. Who knows?

As for the rest of it, there was just excuse after excuse after excuse. It was pathetic, to the point where when Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) took her turn at questioning, she was out of patience.

"You have a solid record of breaking ethics rules from the state level right up to the federal government," Eshoo opened. "It's a long list and it includes wasteful spending, I think is an embarrassment. -- it is an embarrassment to our country and I think its offensive to our country."

"Do you have any remorse for the excessive spending on behalf of yourself, the expensive air tickets, stopping in Paris, the amounts of dollars that you have spent at the agency for an expensive telephone booth - you said it was for a SCIF but there is a SCIF at the EPA."

Pruitt filibustered, because that's all he knows how to do, until Eshoo finally stopped him.

"You're not going to outtalk me," she warned, before once again pinning him on his cozy relationship with lobbyists.

Eshoo went over lobbyists and donors buying access to Pruitt. (See Mulvaney, Mick for more examples of behavior like this.)

Dodge and lie; dodge and lie. Do the dance over and over. That's all Pruitt could do.

Eshoo, running out of patience, asked him if he was going to reimburse taxpayers for his excessive travel at their expense.

Silly Pruitt blamed the travel office, and Eshoo had enough.

"I am elected but I am not a fool," she growled. "That's really a lousy answer for one who has a high position in the federal government. This is not Dodge Question Day. We ask these questions on behalf of our constituents."

"I do not find you forthcoming," she concluded.

Yes, because he's a lying liar just like his other smash-and-grab pals. But this was at least a moment where I felt like Rep. Eshoo had the upper hand. If only for a fleeting moment.

If Trump was watching, he should know it's time for Pruitt to go.

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