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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Michael Pack, a conservative filmmaker who was nominated by Donald Trump to lead the government's foreign media arm, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), left the agency Wednesday at the request of President Biden.

Why it matters: Pack's eight-month tenure was filled with controversy. Most recently, he was accused of fraud, as well as misuse of office. Observers and whistleblowers have alleged throughout his tenure that he was abusing his power in an attempt to transform the agency into a pro-Trump propaganda arm.

Details: Pack's actions, including abruptly firing the heads of the agencies he oversaw and withholding funds from nonprofits he managed — among other controversies — drew serious bipartisan backlash from Capitol Hill.

The big picture: USAGM, formerly known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors, oversees five government-funded media arms that are intended to promote democracy around the world via factual reporting. It is also responsible for funding the Open Technology Fund, an internet freedom nonprofit.

  • The most famous of the five agencies it oversees is Voice of America, which was created nearly 80 years ago to combat Nazi propaganda during WWII. It also manages Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia and Middle East Broadcasting Network.

What they're saying: "The U.S. Agency for Global Media's mission is to further press and internet freedom around the world," said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas). "In conjunction with the Open Technology Fund, the agency has a track record of success in providing internet access and other vital support to those in China, Iran, Russia and other authoritarian countries.

  • I hope the next CEO will focus on expanding the agency's efforts around the world to promote a free and open press," McCaul, who has long been critical of Pack added.

Go deeper

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.