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Reports: White House press secretary to leave for MSNBC

Jen Psaki, who has been the public face and voice of the Biden administration, is reportedly leaving for a job at MSNBC.

WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will leave the Biden Administration in May for a position with MSNBC, multiple media outlets confirmed Friday. It's a move that's been expected for weeks.

Psaki has been a key public face of the administration since Biden took office in 2021, giving daily briefings to the White House press corps and pushing the president's policy plans. 

The news was first reported by Axios and confirmed by CNBC.

The outlets reported that Psaki's on-air deal with MSNBC isn't finalized yet, but she has informed senior officials at the White House about her plans. MSNBC has reportedly been working with ethics and compliance lawyers to make sure she isn't stepping on any of the federal rules for how public employees can pursue private-sector job opportunities while working for the government.

Asked about the reports during Friday's press briefing, Psaki said she couldn't confirm anything about possible next plans. It was the first time she had appeared in the White House press briefing room since testing positive for COVID-19 on March 22. 

"My focus every day continues to be speaking on behalf of the president," Psaki stated. Pressed further on whether it was ethical for her to be negotiating with media outlets while still serving as the White House press secretary, Psaki said she has worked hard to ensure there aren't any conflicts.  

“I have always gone over and above the stringent ethical and legal requirements of the Biden administration, and I take that very seriously,” she said. “And as is standard for every employee at the White House, I've received rigorous ethics counseling, including as it relates to any future employment.”

The Axios report added that she will host a show on Peacock, NBCUniversal's streaming platform, and will be part of the network's live programming schedule. She will not take over for Rachel Maddow in the 9 p.m. timeslot, according to Axios, which some people had been speculating. 

There has been speculation that Psaki has been planning to leave the White House for weeks, and the news isn't a complete shock. 

In May 2021, Psaki said during an interview with CNN that she planned to give up the position in about a year to spend more time with her family. Her expected May 2022 resignation would be in line with that timetable.

White House press secretaries typically do not hold the grueling job for very long, and presidents often are served by multiple chief spokespersons. President Barack Obama had three during his eight years in office, while President Donald Trump had four during his four-year term.

Psaki was unable to travel with President Joe Biden to Europe for his meeting with NATO leaders last month because she tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time. It was the second time a positive COVID test has kept Psaki from accompanying the president abroad. She also sat out a 2021 trip to Rome and Glasgow, Scotland, after learning at the last minute that she had tested positive.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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