Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Pruitt on the Hill: “Lawmakers excoriated EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for recent revelations of ethical lapses and excessive spending during a hearing on the EPA’s 2019 budget request Thursday, with Democrats and at least one Republican informing the embattled agency chief that they found his leadership lacking.”
* The final vote was 57 to 42: “The Senate on Thursday easily confirmed Mike Pompeo as the nation’s 70th secretary of state, elevating the current C.I.A. director and an outspoken foreign policy hawk to be the nation’s top diplomat.”
* Special Master in the Cohen case: “Barbara S. Jones, a lawyer who served as a federal judge in Manhattan, was selected on Thursday to oversee the process of screening materials seized in a recent F.B.I. raid from President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen.”
* The White House’s Porter scandal: “The F.B.I. first gave the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, a file containing spousal abuse allegations against Rob Porter in March 2017, according to a detailed new timeline the bureau has given to Congress that casts further doubt on the West Wing’s account of how accusations against one of President Trump’s closest advisers were handled.”
* Part of a pattern: “The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that it will cancel temporary residence permits for thousands of Nepalis in the United States, a status granted to them following an earthquake three years ago that devastated the South Asian country.”
* Devastating: “Poor training, complacency and a culture of excessive risk contributed to the deaths of four U.S. soldiers during an operation in Niger in October, according to a classified Pentagon report. The report, described by officials familiar with its contents, details a series of missteps and describes a disregard for military procedures and for the chain of command.”
* Climate crisis: “More than a thousand low-lying tropical islands risk becoming “uninhabitable” by the middle of the century – or possibly sooner – because of rising sea levels, upending the populations of some island nations and endangering key U.S. military assets, according to new research published Wednesday.”
* Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) last week sketched out a plan to balance the budget in five years. What he actually showed was that he’s not good at math.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.