July 2, 2024


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Biden’s ex-press secretary Jen Psaki to sit down with House GOP panel probing chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal

Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki has agreed to sit down with House GOP investigators probing the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, Fox News Digital has learned.

Psaki will appear for a closed-door transcribed interview with the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 26 as part of the panel’s long-running probe into the chaotic August 2021 operation, according to a letter sent to the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the content of which was obtained by Fox News Digital. 

White House deputy counsel Rachel Cotton wrote in the letter that the committee’s request to hear from Psaki ‘raises serious separation-of-powers and Executive Branch confidentiality issues.’

‘Nevertheless, as an extraordinary accommodation, we will authorize Ms. Psaki to participate in a voluntary transcribed interview accompanied by personal counsel and the White House Counsel’s Office subject to appropriate terms and conditions for the interview,’ the letter said. ‘In order to allow the White House Counsel’s Office to assess possible Executive Branch confidentiality issues that may arise during Ms. Psaki’s interview, please provide a list of topics the Committee would like to raise with Ms. Psaki or arrange a call with the White House Counsel’s Office to discuss those topics.’

Cotton went on to say the White House expects the lawmakers ‘to follow the longstanding practice of engaging with the White House to help us better understand the scope of the testimony sought,’ so they can best cooperate while remaining ‘consistent with Executive Branch confidentiality interests.’

Fox News Digital reached out to Psaki’s personal attorney for comment.

Psaki was President Biden’s first White House press secretary, serving in the role during the U.S. military’s two-week operation ending its presence in Afghanistan after 20 years. 

A source close to the committee’s Republican majority told Fox News Digital that investigators believe she made multiple untrue claims in that role, and want to find out how much blame she shares for making those allegedly false statements while performing her role as a spokesperson.

The committee also plans to confront her with gaps in what she told reporters in the White House briefing room and information others involved in the withdrawal said they told the White House at the time, the source suggested. They will be looking into whether Psaki knowingly made misleading claims, as Republicans suggest, or whether inaccurate information was fed to her, the source said. 

Specifically, GOP investigators want to know whether the Biden administration – including the State Department and the Department of Defense – failed to provide accurate assessments to Psaki or, alternatively, was the information being channeled through national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who may have misrepresented agency inputs to the White House press secretary. 

The source said Republicans are looking into whether the Biden administration was choosing politics over policy, potentially hiding the truth from the American people. 

During last week’s presidential debate, Biden made the stunning omission of the 13 U.S. service members killed during the Afghanistan withdrawal, claiming: ‘Truth is I’m the only president this century that doesn’t have any – this decade – that didn’t have any troops dying anywhere in the world, like [President Trump] did.’

Blasting Biden on the House floor the next day, McCaul said, ‘That is a lie, Mr. President. I’d like to remind President Biden of the 13 service members that died on his watch during a terrorist attack at Abbey Gate on August 26, 2021, during his deadly and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.’ 

He then read the names of those killed: Marine Lance Cpl. David Lee Espinoza, Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, Marine Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover, Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, Marine Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Marine Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, Navy Corpsman Maxton (Max) Soviak, and Marine Cpl. Daegan William-Tyler Page. 

In addition to those 13, three U.S. service members died in a drone attack in Jordan earlier this year.

The investigation by McCaul has been viewed by Democrats as one of the less partisan probes launched by the House GOP majority in this Congress.

McCaul authored a report that examined the Biden administration’s decisions and actions in detail after the president, on April 14, 2021, announced his decision to unconditionally withdraw all U.S. military personnel from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021. 

‘Over the following four months, the administration repeatedly delayed critical action that was necessary to mitigate the likely consequences of the decision,’ according to the report’s executive summary. ‘The result of their inaction was a chaotic Non-combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) where 13 U.S. servicemembers lost their lives and more than 800 Americans were abandoned behind enemy lines.’ The report examines the aftermath, including ‘Taliban seizure of power, the chaotic and deadly evacuation, and the long-term impact the withdrawal has had on the United States and our allies.’ 

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