White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is reportedly set to leave the Biden White House for MSNBC, Axios reported Friday.
Source: Axios excerpt:
Psaki is now in exclusive talks with MSNBC, and the deal is nearly final. It was reported by Puck last month that Psaki also had conversations with CNN and that other networks had expressed interest in signing her.
Psaki will host a show for MSNBC on NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, Peacock.
She will also be a part of live programming on MSNBC’s cable network as a voice on different shows, but she will not be hosting the 9 p.m. hour replacing Rachel Maddow, which has been speculated.
Between the lines: Psaki’s deal is similar to that of Symone Sanders, a former adviser and senior spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris.
Sanders signed an exclusive deal with MSNBC in January to host a show on Peacock and to participate in live programming on MSNBC.
Her new show, called Symone, will air at 4 p.m. ET on weekends on MSNBC and will stream on Mondays and Tuesdays on Peacock, per Deadline.
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Axios also reported that White House and MSNBC lawyers have been working to ensure the unethical negotiations don’t violate federal law.
Psaki has been in close consultation with the White House counsel’s office about her departure, according to two sources familiar with the plans. She’s been treading carefully on the ethics and legal aspects of her plans.
No contracts have been signed. Government ethics rules have stipulations about how public employees can pursue private sector job opportunities while in office.
She’s also told some senior officials at the White House about her departure and her plans to join MSNBC, according to two sources.
Psaki has not yet formally told the White House press team about her departure, an administration source tells Axios.
MSNBC has been working with its compliance lawyers to make sure their conversations didn’t violate any government regulations, according to a source close to the matter.
Psaki made it clear early in her tenure that she would leave after a year or so. In recent months she has twice tested positive for COVID, the most recent being last week which has given others in the Biden communications shop the opportunity to audition for Psaki’s job by giving the press briefing before the cameras.
Leading candidates to replace Psaki are Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (who in an unfortunate twist also came down with COVID this week which allowed others to audition) and White House Communications Director Katie Bedingfield who has handled three briefings this week.