Psaki hammered by press on possible ethics issues over her alleged MSNBC deal

Americans received the greatest gift on Friday when news broke that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had reportedly verbally inked a deal with MSNBC for a gig in the private sector, to start sometime this spring, meaning her departure from the White House.

As the Daily Caller reported, later on Friday, during her return to the podium after a bout with COVID-19, Psaki was hammered by a number of mainstream media reporters concerning possible ethics issues of Psaki continuing her job in the White House while she had effectively negotiated a deal with a major outlet, from which she could theoretically take questions in the coming days and weeks. 

As she does best, Psaki danced around the multiple questions on the issue that were fired off by reporters from CBS and other outlets.

However, it’s notable that while Psaki’s future in the private media sector seems a sure thing, she hasn’t yet signed a contract with MSNBC, which technically allows her to continue her job in the White House. But it certainly doesn’t give her a pass on a number of tough questions that she needs to answer.

“Nothing to confirm”

CBS News White House correspondent Ed O’Keefe was the first reporter on Friday to take Psaki to task over the brewing situation, asking if she could confirm, on record, her negotiations with MSNBC.

“Well, you can’t get rid of me yet, Ed. I have nothing to confirm about my length of public service or planned service or anything about consideration about next plans,” Psaki said.

She added: “I am very happy to be standing with all of you here today after it felt like a never ending, endless time in my basement quarantining away from my family. Believe it or not, I missed you all a lot.”

“And my focus everyday continues to be speaking on behalf of the president, answering your questions as tough as they may be at many times, as difficult as they may be to answer at many times and I hope that I meet my own bar of treating everybody with fairness and being equitable.”

Ethics concerns

She was then pressed by more reporters on the potential ethics issues, which Psaki clearly saw coming a mile away, as her canned response — repeated several times — was quickly deployed.

“I would say that, again, I have taken the ethical requirements very seriously and any discussions and any considerations about any future employment just as any White House official would and have taken steps beyond that to ensure there’s no conflicts,” Psaki said.

Interestingly, according to Axios, Psaki is set to host a show on NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, Peacock. Her start date is unclear, though it has been reported that it’ll be sometime this “spring.”

Though Axios reported that her deal with MSNBC is all but final, Psaki had also talked with CNN and other top networks in recent months, likely having her pick of the litter, as top White House communications officials are typically highly sought after by all the networks.

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