Psaki Under Fire: Congress to Probe Her Role in Afghanistan Tragedy

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The Committee’s thorough investigation points to Ms. Psaki as having played an important role in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the deadly August 2021 non-combatant evacuation operation. As White House Press Secretary throughout this period, Ms. Psaki was charged with communicating the withdrawal to the American people and possesses key insights into the planning and decision-making regarding the Afghanistan withdrawal, the rapid Taliban takeover, and the evacuation of American citizens and Afghan allies. Ms. Psaki unfortunately advanced narratives regarding the withdrawal and evacuation that my investigation has proven untrue.

It appears Ms. Psaki acknowledges her own involvement, given her recent memoir, Say More: Lessons from Work, the White House, and the World, which includes information related to the Afghanistan withdrawal, including a false claim that President Biden never looked at his watch during the ceremony for the 13 U.S. servicemembers killed under his leadership. It is troubling that Ms. Psaki seeks to profit off the Afghanistan tragedy, and has felt comfortable writing accounts and making them available to the general public, but refuses to make herself available to Congress, the branch dedicated to representing the interest and will of the American people.

Pursuant to the request for exhaustion raised in Mr. Sauber’s September 18 and 28, 2023 letters, the Committee has already attempted to obtain the information it needs to complete its investigation from the State Department, Department of Defense, and other relevant entities and individuals. It, however, has been unable to do so with respect to the narrative Ms. Psaki shaped and public relations strategy she led. My request is in accordance with standard precedent, including established practice during the Biden administration. Given that the Biden White House publicly supported Congressional interviews of former Trump officials, I fail to understand why Ms. Psaki insists on a double standard, now rejecting similar calls for accountability, unless it is her contention that the deaths of Americans and allies are not extraordinary circumstances.

Accordingly, the Committee requests that arrangements be made by Ms. Psaki to schedule her transcribed interview no later than May 28, 2024. Given the evasions by Ms. Psaki throughout this investigation, the Committee requests Ms. Psaki’s appearance before it on one of the specified dates below.

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    1. June 12, 2024
    2. June 26, 2024
    3. July 9, 2024

As a private citizen, willing and able to publish a memoir on her tenure as White House Press Secretary, I encourage Ms. Psaki to refrain from relying on thin legal arguments to dodge her responsibility to appear before Congress. The Committee will not tolerate Ms. Psaki’s continued obstruction of its critical investigation and is prepared to use all the tools at its disposal to ensure America’s representatives speak with her.

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