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Rep. Joe Barton calls Scott Pruitt ‘the victim’ and thanks him for stopping Obama’s ‘radical clean air’ agenda

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Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton on Thursday insisted that EPA Director Scott Pruitt had been a “victim” of Democrats because of news reports which accuse Pruitt of corruption.

At a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday, Democrats repeatedly suggested that Pruitt should resign over the reports, but many of the Republicans praised the EPA director.

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“You’re not the first person to be the victim of — for lack of a better term — Washington politics,” Barton told Pruitt. “You got picked to be the EPA administrator because of the service you provided for the great state of Oklahoma in fighting some of the Obama administration radical clean air policies.”

Barton went on to thank Pruitt for advising President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

“If you can’t debate the policies in Washington, you attack the personality,” Barton said regarding the reports of Pruitt’s misconduct. “And that’s what’s happening to you. Republicans do it when it’s a Democratic president. The Democrats do it when it’s a Republican president. In my opinion, that’s what’s happening to you.”

In a series of quick questions, Barton dismissed many of Pruitt’s scandals, including allegations that he rented a condo from a lobbyist who has business with the EPA and Pruitt’s use of charter jets and flying first class.

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“You’ve been attacked for flying first class,” Barton explained. “Is that illegal?”

“That was approved by the travel office and security team at the EPA,” Pruitt replied.

“But that was not illegal,” Barton said, continuing his questioning. “There was an energy secretary under the Clinton administration, she leased party jets that were used by rock stars. Party jets. Not one time but several times. Have you ever rented a party jet?”

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“No, congressman,” Pruitt answered.

“Okay, that’s good,” Barton remarked.

Watch the video below.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Pilgrims gather for cosmic-like ritual in Bulgaria’s mountains

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Thousands of pilgrims gathered Monday in Bulgaria's Rila mountains to welcome their "spiritual" new year with a cosmic-like dance performed in concentric circles, creating a striking image on the verdant mountain plain.

The white-clad dancers hiked up to Bulgaria's Seven Rila Lakes at an altitude of 2,100 metres (6,900 feet) and performed a special meditative dance known as "paneurhythmy" for more than an hour under the sound of singing and violins.

They are followers of the Universal White Brotherhood -- an esoteric society that combines Christianity and Indian mysticism and was founded by Bulgarian theologian Peter Deunov back in 1897 but banned during communism and still considered a sect by the country's Christian Orthodox Church.

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NBA star Stephen Curry finances college golf team for six years

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Three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors said Monday he will support the creation of Howard University's first top-level golf program for the next six years.

Curry, a six-time NBA All-Star guard and avid golfer, was inspired to make the contribution by Otis Ferguson IV, a senior at the Washington DC university who Curry met during a campus visit earlier this year.

Ferguson had been campaigning to establish a golf team at Howard. He found a backer in Curry, who decided establish men's and women's golf at the historically black college.

Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Curry also persuaded golf equipment manufacturer Callaway to promise equipment and sport apparel giant Under Armour, who are one of his sponsors, to provide uniforms.

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Paul Krugman hilariously roasts Trump economic adviser for decades’ worth of terrible predictions

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Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman on Monday set his sights on Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who himself is not actually an economist, for making decades' worth of terrible predictions.

Writing on Twitter, Krugman concedes that making predictions is a difficult business and he admits to making his own bad predictions in the past.

However, he then explains that Kudlow is unique because he's been making the same false prediction for decades -- namely, about tax cuts for the ultra-rich producing economic miracles.

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