White House press secretary Jen Psaki Friday was grilled by reporters after she refused to confirm a report that claims she will leave her current role for a new gig at MSNBC, bringing into question the ethics of the situation.
Fox News White House Correspondent Jacqui Heinrich confirmed Psaki will leave the White House for MSNBC and reported the network beat out CNN in a bidding war, but a deal hasn’t been signed yet.
Asked by CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe whether it was “ethical” for her to continue her job at the White House while negotiating with a media outlet, Psaki said, “Well, I have always gone over and above the stringent ethical and legal requirements of the Biden administration and I take that very seriously.”
“As a standard for every employee at the White House, I have received rigorous ethics counseling as it relates to any future employment,” she said. “I’ve complied with all ethics requirements and gone beyond and taken steps to reduce myself from decisions as appropriate.”
Psaki refused to deny or confirm the reports.
“I have nothing to confirm about my length of public service or planned service or anything about consideration about next plans,” she told reporters, adding that her “focus every day continues to be speaking on behalf of the president.”
Noting reports on the situation that have now been “confirmed by multiple media outlets,” NBC reporter Kristen Welker further pressed Psaki on the ethics of the situation and how she can be “an effective briefer” if she is in current talks with a media outlet.
“I have nothing, again, to announce about any conversations or any future plans,” Psaki said. “And at whatever time I leave the White House, I can promise you the first thing I’m going to do is sleep and spend time with my three and six-year-old.”
“Broadly speaking, is it the policy of this White House to allow staffers to have discussions, even if indirectly with institutions, that impact and affect their jobs and your job here,” Welker asked Psaki.
Psaki said it “is the policy of this White House to ensure that anyone who is having conversations about future employment does so through consultation with the White House counsel’s office and ensuring they abide by any ethics and legal requirements.”
Psaki has reportedly told senior officials about her exclusivity deal and planned departure, but has not yet formally told the White House press team, an administration source told Axios, according to a tweet from Axios media reporter Sara Fischer.
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