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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 Sep 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Cornyn: "Of course" Senate would confirm SCOTUS pick in lame-duck session if Biden wins

Cornyn speaks during the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told CNN on Monday that "of course" Senate Republicans would confirm President Trump's Supreme Court nominee in a lame-duck session even if Joe Biden wins the November election.

Why it matters: Democrats need only two more Republican senators to oppose voting on a Supreme Court nominee before the election to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to hold a vote in the lame-duck session of Congress.

Sep 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

McConnell: Senate has "more than sufficient time" to process Supreme Court nomination

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech Monday that the chamber has "more than sufficient time" to confirm a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election, and accused Democrats of preparing "an even more appalling sequel" to the fight over Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Why it matters: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said "nothing is off the table next year" if Republicans push ahead with the confirmation vote before November, vowing alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to use "every procedural tool available to us to ensure that we buy ourselves the time necessary."

Updated 2 hours ago - World

U.S. sanctions Russian officials over Navalny poisoning and detention

Pro-Navalny protesters in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Photo: Omer Messinger/Getty Images

The U.S. will sanction 7 senior Russian officials over the poisoning and jailing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny, the Biden administration confirmed on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The sanctions represent the first penalties the U.S. has imposed on Kremlin-linked officials since President Biden took office and pledged to confront Russian aggression.