Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Photo: Jason Andrew/Getty Images

When embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt appears before Congress Thursday for hours of questioning, he plans to blame numerous spending and ethical probes hanging over him on his staffers, per an internal talking points document obtained by the New York Times.

The details: As the Times notes, Pruitt is facing 10 separate investigations by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, his agency’s inspector general’s office, the congressional watchdog Government Accountability Office and others. Pruitt, bogged by mounting calls from Democrats and a handful of Republicans to step down, will testify before two House committees regarding the EPA's budget.

The backdrop: The White House has repeatedly lauded Pruitt for his work to unravel numerous Obama-era environmental regulations. But press secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday offered no defense when reporters listed his alleged ethical mishaps. “We’re evaluating these concerns and we expect the EPA administrator to answer for them," Sanders responded.

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Biden's China plan: Bring allies

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Joe Biden is planning to confront China across the globe, embracing some of President Trump's goals but rejecting his means.

The big picture: By starting a trade war with China, Trump has fundamentally altered the U.S.- China relationship — and forced both Republicans and Democrats to accept a more confrontational approach towards Beijing.

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In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.