Trump Media Agency Boss Explains Non-Appearance to House Panel

(Bloomberg) — The chief of the agency that oversees the Voice of America and other media organizations told the chairman of a congressional committee that subpoenaed him that he couldn’t appear because of a scheduling conflict.



a large stone building with United States Capitol in the background: The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.


© Bloomberg
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.

Michael Pack, who earlier this year took charge of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, had angered both Democrats and Republicans on the Foreign Affairs Committee when he defied the subpoena to testify about changes at the agency.

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In a letter to the panel’s chairman, Eliot Engel, on Wednesday, Pack said he was “disappointed to receive your subpoena” and “eager to testify.” He complained in the letter that the panel’s staff had refused to accept other dates.

“As we have repeatedly explained to the committee, USAGM has become preoccupied with a series of pressing and complex matters necessary to correct over a decade of systemic security failures. In view of these genuine and urgent conflicts, we requested a brief adjournment so that I may appear a few weeks later.”

Earlier: Trump Media Agency Chief to Defy Subpoena, Angering Republicans

He added that he “could not provide complete information concerning the pressing internal matters.”

He was originally scheduled to appear voluntarily on Thursday, and the committee issued the subpoena last week after he withdrew.

Engel, a New York Democrat, said Tuesday that it was Pack who had failed to provide alternative dates or offer an acceptable excuse.

Pack’s withdrawal also drew a strong statement from the committee’s ranking Republican, Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, who called for Pack to testify. In a sharply divided Congress, the bipartisan response was unusual, particularly with regard to pressing a Trump nominee to appear before a committee controlled by Democrats.

McCaul said that since being confirmed by the Senate in June, Pack had placed critical national security programs “in jeopardy” and that he “needs to come before this committee and explain those actions.”

In June, Pack dismissed the heads of four news organizations, including Radio Free Europe, as well as staff and governing board members at the Open Technology Fund, or OTF, an organization that promotes internet freedom abroad and receives grant money from the Agency for Global Media. McCaul was one of the lead authors of a measure that would establish the OTF as an independent grantee of the agency.

Earlier: Trump Nominee to Lead U.S. Media Agency Gets Committee Approval

Pack’s nomination by President Donald Trump drew heated opposition from Senate Democrats, both for his association with former Trump campaign and White House adviser Steve Bannon, but also over unresolved questions about his business dealings while running an nonprofit media organization called the Public Media Lab. The attorney general of the District of Columbia is investigating the organization for unlawful use of funds.

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‘Home Improvement’ star Patricia Richardson explains why she left hit series

Patricia Richardson, who once starred as beloved matriarch Jill Taylor on “Home Improvement,” said she has no regrets leaving the hit series behind.

“The reason I turned down the ninth year of ‘Home Improvement’ was that I was a single parent and away from my kids too much,” the 67-year-old recently told Closer Weekly.

“I left the show, and I have to put my children first since then,” added Richardson, who is a real-life mom to 33-year-old son Henry Baker, as well as 27-year-old twins Roxanne and Joseph Baker. “That’s why I’ve kept quitting the business: to be with them.”

‘HOME IMPROVEMENT’ STAR SLAMS RUMORS

The magazine added Richardson also turned down the $30 million offer to care for her ailing parents.

Patricia Richardson today. — Getty

Patricia Richardson today. — Getty

“I also passed up on another show that won, like, 30 Emmys,” she said. “But I don’t mean to sound like, ‘Oh, I sacrificed this huge thing for my children,’ because it’s what I wanted. Granted, it’s what they needed, but it was also what I needed because I missed them terribly. ‘Home Improvement’ had much longer days than most sitcoms. Because I was involved in all the writing, I was away from them more than I wanted and felt I missed so many things.”

NEWS: TIM ALLEN INVOLVED IN CONTROVERSY

“Home Improvement” told the tale of Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, a television host raising three sons with the help of his loyal co-host, his loving wife and their eccentric neighbor. It starred Tim Allen, Earl Hindman and Richard Karn, among others. The sitcom aired from 1991 until 1999.

Richardson told the publication she has fond memories of the show.

“Tim and I were always cracking each other up,” she explained. “We came up with so much of what you saw on the set every day. There was the time that Tim was throwing potatoes around at the male crew members and hit a female camerawoman in the face, so that became kind of a joke.

"Home Improvement" circa 1991. — Getty

“Home Improvement” circa 1991. — Getty

“I got hit in the head with a football more than once because it took so long for Disney to give the kids an outdoor space to play that was safe — and they weren’t that good at it! It was just a fun set, and we really were a family.”

However, Richardson admitted she wasn’t comfortable with being a celebrity during the height of the show’s popularity.

‘HOME IMPROVEMENT’ CAST: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

“I really hated fame,” she said. [Co-star] Jonathan Taylor Thomas and I had similar reactions — he backed off, too, and went to school. I didn’t do charity events because I was desperate for time with my kids and husband, who was always mad I was never home. Hence the divorce.

“[And] when I had to [co-host] the [1994] Emmys, it was the worst day of my life. I was terrified. I was so stupid! In theater school, nobody ever talked to us about having

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