Feb 24, 2017

EPA chief picking conservative lawyer for top policy job

New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is picking an ally from his fights against EPA rules to head the agency's Office of Policy, a person familiar with the decision tells Axios.

Who she is: Samantha Dravis comes to EPA after serving in senior roles with the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) and its affiliated Rule of Law Defense Fund. Pruitt, who was Oklahoma's attorney general, is a former chairman of both organizations. The groups have been active in the battle against the Obama EPA's Clean Power Plan, a sweeping rule to cut carbon emissions from power plants that's squarely in the crosshairs of Pruitt and the White House.

Why it matters: The choice underscores Pruitt's commitment to bringing an anti-regulatory regime to the agency that expanded mandates on fossil fuel industries under President Obama.

What we're hearing. The choice is raising eyebrows—and concerns—within the agency about her lack of environmental policy experience.

Our thought bubble: Look for Democrats and environmentalists to cast the naming of Dravis as further evidence of close ties between fossil fuel companies and Pruitt. RAGA has "relied heavily on funds from ultraconservative groups and the oil industry," according to The Washington Post. Dravis, an attorney, was previously counsel to Freedom Partners, one of the groups in the Koch network, and served as associate director of the office of political affairs in the George W. Bush White House. She received a law degree from the University of Notre Dame.

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Trump threatens to "assume control" of Minneapolis over unrest

Flames from a nearby fire illuminate protesters standing on a barricade in front of the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis on Thursday. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump threatened via Twitter early Friday to send the national guard to Minneapolis following three days of massive demonstrations and unrest in the city over George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody this week.

Details: "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right," Trump tweeted after a police station was torched by some protesters.

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Twitter: Trump's Minnesota tweet violated rules on violence

Twitter said Friday morning that a tweet from President Trump in which he threatened shooting in response to civil unrest in Minneapolis violated the company's rules. The company said it was leaving the tweet up in the public interest.

Why it matters: The move exacerbates tensions between Twitter and Trump over the company's authority to label or limit his speech and, conversely, the president's authority to dictate rules for a private company.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Protesters cheer as the Third Police Precinct burns behind them on in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Cheering protesters set a Minneapolis police station on fire Thursday night in the third night of unrest following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in the city, per AP.

The state of play: Minnesota's governor on Thursday activated the state's national guard following violent outbreaks throughout the week, as the nation waits to see if the officers involved will be charged with murder.