White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki may have violated government ethics rules when she appeared on a podcast and criticized both Fox News and one of their reporters while simultaneously eyeing a potential job at the conservative news network’s rival MSNBC, Radar has exclusively learned.
In a sensational development that has no doubt rocked the White House, Psaki is under fire for her comments Friday when she said Fox News “might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a b----” while appearing on an episode of Pod Save America and discussing an incident between President Joe Biden and Fox News reporter Peter Doocy.
That is the bombshell revelation of a Tuesday letter to White House council Dana Remus, U.S. Office of Government Ethics director Emery Rounds and Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice chief Corey Amundson from government watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust.
In the letter, which has been exclusively obtained by Radar, the government watchdog argues that Psaki not only violated government ethics rules while slamming the competitor of a potential future employer with her comments on the Pod Save America podcast, but that she also violates government ethics rules every time she holds a press briefing when both MSNBC and the network’s many competitors are also in the room reporting.
“[It is] imperative that high level officials such as Ms. Psaki comply fully with their ethical obligations while seeking non-federal employment,” the watchdog’s letter to the White House starts. "Recent events have given reason to doubt that this is happening.”
"For example, on April 14, 2022, Ms. Psaki engaged in an apparent misuse of her official position when she publicly disparaged Fox News, a competitor of her reported future employer,” Tuesday’s letter continues. “Moreover, Ms. Psaki has continued to brief reporters from the White House podium, including reporters from networks she has reportedly been negotiating with, without any apparent restrictions, creating a potential conflict of interest."
"The appearance of a conflict of interest risks further damaging the already low level of public trust in government,” Protect the People’s Trust adds.
“In order to restore public trust and live up to Ms. Psaki's own commitment to transparency and engagement, we are calling upon you to investigate whether Ms. Psaki violated her ethical duties, either in her remarks regarding Fox News or in her conduct while negotiating non-federal employment more generally."
As Radar reported on Friday, the first mention of a potential violation of ethics rules stems from a situation in which the president’s press secretary appeared on a political podcast and commented on an incident on January 24 in which Biden was caught on a hot-mic calling Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a b----.”
“OK, um, well,” Psaki began after being asked by one of the podcast’s hosts whether or not Doocy is a “stupid son of a b---- or does he play a stupid son of a b---- on TV?”
“He works for a network that provides people with questions that — nothing personal to any individual, including Peter Doocy — but might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a b----,” she responded.
That incident also came following a number of reports claiming Psaki is preparing to leave her role as Biden’s press secretary to take a job hosting for MSNBC, a claim that has yet to be confirmed or denied by Psaki herself.
“I don’t have a date or anything like that, but at some point, I’ll be watching from somewhere else,” Psaki said regarding leaving the White House after revealing she “will not be there forever.”
Now, critics and government watchdogs alike are calling her out for what are arguably direct conflicts of interest pertaining to the fact that she works everyday with reporters who are not only possible future colleagues, but others who are also potential future competitors.