Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Voice of America Director Amanda Bennett and Deputy Director Sandy Sugawara both resigned from their posts at the state-sponsored international news agency after the confirmation of a Trump political appointee to VOA's parent agency, Deadline reports.

The big picture: The reshuffle follows an onslaught of public attacks from the White House, which has accused VOA of promoting Chinese propaganda in its coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. An email from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released after a freedom of information request told communications staff not to respond to media requests from VOA.

  • In April, President Trump threatened to force Congress into a formal recess so that he could make recess appointments, demanding that the Senate confirm his nominee for CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, the independent agency in charge of VOA.
  • Senate Republicans voted last week to confirm Michael Pack to the position. Pack, a conservative filmmaker, has received criticism from Senate Democrats for his business history and his ties to Steve Bannon.

Between the lines: Some Democrats fear that with the installment of a top political appointee, VOA could become a propaganda arm for the Trump administration — though journalists within the agency deny that charge.

Go deeper: VOA journalists fight claims that it is Trump propaganda

Go deeper

Updated Jul 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump administration notifies UN of intent to withdraw from WHO

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Trump administration informed the United Nations and Congress on Tuesday that the U.S. is officially beginning the process of withdrawing from the World Health Organization. The UN is now "in the process of verifying with the WHO whether all the conditions for such withdrawal are met," according to a spokesperson.

Why it matters: President Trump's decision to formally withdraw from the UN's global health agency — which will take effect on July 6, 2021 — comes as the pandemic continues to accelerate both in the U.S. and around the world. The U.S. is by far the largest donor to the WHO out of any country, contributing more than 14% of its total budget.

Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.