Jen Psaki Under Congressional Scrutiny Over Statements in Book on Biden's Afghanistan Withdrawal

 May 23, 2024

Jen Psaki, a former White House Press Secretary, now faces a possible subpoena from the U.S. Congress.

Former White House press secretary and MSNBC commentator Jen Psaki is called to testify regarding her potentially misleading portrayal in her book about the Biden administration's handling of Afghanistan's military withdrawal, Fox News reported.

Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has demanded Psaki's participation in a transcribed interview. This arises from her claims surrounding President Joe Biden’s behavior at the ceremony for fallen U.S. service members.

Controversial Claim in Psaki's Recent Book Elicit Scrutiny

In her book titled, "Say More: Lessons from Work, the White House, and the World," Psaki asserted that President Biden did not look at his watch during the dignified transfer ceremony at Dover Air Force Base.

However, photographs and testimonials from Gold Star families present at the event contradicted her narrative. In response to the fallout, Psaki has agreed to amend the e-book and future editions of her publication.

Committee's Concern Over Psaki's Depiction

Michael McCaul criticized Psaki, accusing her of exploiting the troubled withdrawal for profit. The committee sees her as a central figure in shaping public communications during the withdrawal, deeming her insights vital for their ongoing investigation.

McCaul's letter to Psaki included a stern notification: "The Committee expects Ms. Psaki to appear before it to answer questions... and to help prevent another such disaster from occurring in the future."

A deadline of May 28 has been imposed for Psaki to confirm her attendance. Should she fail to do so, McCaul threatened to issue a congressional subpoena to enforce her compliance.

Pivotal Moments in Background Events

The United States' military withdrawal from Afghanistan occurred in 2021, culminating in chaotic scenes that many criticized as mishandled. During this time, 13 American service members and over 170 Afghan civilians were tragically killed.

It's this context that framed the dignified transfer observed by Biden on August 29, 2021, making Psaki's published account of the president's actions significant.

Following her tenure which ended in 2021, Jen Psaki transitioned into a new role at MSNBC in May 2022. Since then, she has faced ongoing scrutiny over how the previous administration handled external communications during critical incidents.

Michael McCaul detailed issues found with Psaki's narrative: "Ms. Psaki unfortunately advanced narratives regarding the withdrawal and evacuation that my investigation has proven untrue." This highlights a significant conflict between her public statements and observed actions at the time.

Jen Psaki, when approached on her MSNBC segment, remarked on the necessity of amending her book to address the errors identified: "The Committee will not tolerate Ms. Psaki’s continued obstruction of its critical investigation."

Closing the case, the demand for Psaki's testimony underscores a broader inquiry by the committee into how narratives from the Afghanistan withdrawal were managed, hoping to learn crucial lessons to avoid similar outcomes in future U.S. military decisions.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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