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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Supreme Court won't block Rhode Island's eased absentee voting rules

Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Supreme Court said Thursday that it will not block Rhode Island's move to ease its requirements for absentee voting during November's election.

Why it matters: The decision is a loss for Republicans, who had requested an emergency order as the state is expected to begin mailing out its ballots.

Breaking down Uber and Lyft's threat to suspend services in California

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Uber and Lyft are ratcheting up the fight with California’s state government over the classification of drivers with a move that would deprive Californians of their ride-hailing services (and halt driver income).

Driving the news: On Wednesday, both companies said that if a court doesn’t overturn or further pause a new ruling forcing them to reclassify California drivers as employees, they’ll suspend their services in the state until November’s election, when voters could potentially exempt them by passing a ballot measure.

Trump announces normalization of ties between Israel and UAE

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, Trump and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto; Samuel Corum; Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced a "historic" deal Thursday which will see Israel and the UAE open full diplomatic relations and Israel suspend its annexation plans in the West Bank.

Why it matters: This is a major breakthrough for Israel, which lacks diplomatic recognition in many Middle Eastern countries but has been steadily improving relations in the Gulf, largely due to mutual antipathy toward Iran.