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Ethics watchdog says Karine Jean-Pierre’s CNN journalist partner Suzanne Malveaux could be a ‘conflict of interest’ for the White House and again demands Biden administration be ‘transparent’ on Psaki’s reported negotiations with MSNBC

  • Ethics group is doubling down on their calls for the Biden White House to be the ‘most transparent in history’ 
  • Protect the Public’s Trust wants Biden administration to release all of Karine Jean-Pierre’s ‘ethics documents’
  • Director Michael Chamberlain said her partner, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux, could present a conflict of interest
  • ‘Regardless of the legal status of her relationship with Malveaux, given Jean-Pierre’s unique role with the media, this certainly presents the appearance of a potential conflict of interest,’ he told DailyMail.com
  • He also called for ‘transparency with respect to Ms. Psaki’s post-government employment search as well’
  • Follows reports that she will sign a lucrative contract with MSNBC after leaving the White House next week 
  • CNN has had to weather the firing of Chris Cuomo in December over his involvement in brother Andrew Cuomo’s sex harassment scandal 

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An ethics group is doubling down on their calls for the Biden White House to be the ‘most transparent in history’ by releasing all ethics documents relating to new press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and her conversations with ethics officials over potential conflicts of interest with her CNN journalist partner.

Karine Jean-Pierre, 44, who takes over from Jen Psaki on May 13 after serving as her deputy, is a partner of CNN’s national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, 55, and the pair share a seven-year-old daughter, Soleil. 

There are now questions over whether the network embroiled in months of scandal will offer impartial coverage and there is still mounting criticism over Psaki’s potential move to MSNBC when she leaves the White House as press secretary next week. 

Michael Chamberlain, Director of ethics watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust, told DailyMail.com on Friday: ‘Restrictions regarding conflicts of interest for political appointees are imputed on the appointee’s spouse. 

‘Regardless of the legal status of her relationship with Malveaux, given Jean-Pierre’s unique role with the media, this certainly presents the appearance of a potential conflict of interest. 

‘If the Biden Administration is going to be true to their pledges to be the most ethical and most transparent in history, they should feel an obligation to go beyond the minimum legal requirements for disclosure and release all of Ms. Jean-Pierre’s ethics documents as well as the related conversations with ethics officials. 

‘Protect the Public’s Trust called for this transparency with respect to Ms. Psaki’s post-government employment search as well.’

While the trailblazing and historic nature of her appointment was being celebrated by many – Jean-Pierre is the first black woman and first openly gay person to do the job – others were alarmed by conflicts of interest.

The network has had to weather the firing of Chris Cuomo in December over his involvement in brother Andrew Cuomo’s sex harassment scandal and then two months later dumped network president Jeff Zucker over his secret romance with CNN co-worker Allison Gollust.

Jean-Pierre and Malveaux are pictured with their daughter Soleil, born in 2014

Karine Jean-Pierre, 44, and her partner Suzanne Malveaux, CNN's national correspondent, 55, are pictured on Saturday night at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

Jean-Pierre and Malveaux are pictured with their daughter Soleil, born in 2014, and on the red carpet of the White House Correspondent’s Dinner on Saturday

Juwan Holmes, associate editor of the online magazine LGBTQ Nation, spent the last two years writing about Jean-Pierre’s work, and said he anticipated the concern.

‘I’m sure there won’t be Cuomo-level conflict of interest violations but expect it to have it bought up in the future…’ he said.

Others quickly slammed the network. 

‘This is one of many examples of the corporate media LITERALLY in bed with the government it covers,’ tweeted Alex Marlow, editor-in-chief of Breitbart. 

Malveaux, who joined CNN in 2002, and Jean-Pierre are familiar faces on the DC scene – most recently attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner together on Saturday night.

The pair met in 2012 at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.  

Psaki admitted she was struggling to fight back tears as she introduced Jean-Pierre as her successor, calling her her ‘partner in truth’.

‘I’m going to cry’, an emotional Psaki said at the start of her briefing on Thursday as she brought her successor up to the podium and hugged her. 

‘I just want to take the opportunity to celebrate and congratulate my friend, my colleague, my partner in truth Karine Jean-Pierre, the next White House Press Secretary,’ Psaki said.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy then said he will miss his favorite sparring partner Psaki in the briefing room. She dryly responded by saying: ‘Will you?’

Psaki refused to comment on her future amid speculation she will likely head to MSNBC, and said she is only looking forward to ‘sleeping’ and ‘reading books’. 

She then asked reporters for Netflix suggestions. 

‘Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people,’ Biden said in a statement.

Biden said he and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden ‘have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.’

He went on to praise Psaki’ for ‘returning decency’ to the White House briefing room in what appears to be a veiled jab at the Trump administration’s more combative relationship with the press. 

‘Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room,’ Biden said. ‘I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so.’

Another asked: ‘What is the name of the Universe where this is not a Conflict of Interest?’

Jen Psaki admitted she was struggling to fight back tears as she introduced her 'partner in truth' Karine Jean-Pierre as President Joe Biden's new press secretary

Jen Psaki admitted she was struggling to fight back tears as she introduced her ‘partner in truth’ Karine Jean-Pierre as President Joe Biden’s new press secretary 

‘I thank Jen her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.’

The Columbia University grad was born in Martinique, and served as chief of staff to now-Vice President Kamala Harris on the Biden campaign. 

Jean-Pierre also worked in the Obama administration as Regional Political Director for the White House Office of Political Affairs, and on both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns. 

Before joining Biden’s presidential bid she was an MSNBC and NBC political analyst and held roles at MoveON.org and the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Psaki lauded Jean-Pierre’s historic appointment in a statement on Twitter. 

‘She will be the first black woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as the White House Press Secretary. Representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible,’ the outgoing press secretary said. 

Psaki said Jean-Pierre has ‘decades of experience from her early years working in government and politics in NYC, to her years as an outspoken advocate, to serving as a long-time advisor to [Biden] back when he was the VP.’

‘She is passionate. She is smart and she has a moral core that makes her not just a great colleague, but an amazing Mom and human. Plus, she has a great sense of humor,’ Psaki praised. 

Jean-Pierre has stepped in for Psaki at the podium multiple times in the first part of Biden’s administration – perhaps most notably when the press secretary was out after testing positive for COVID-19. 

Along with her new promotion, the White House also announced Thursday that former senior Biden adviser Anita Dunn would be returning to the administration in the same role. 

Dunn left the White House in August 2021. She is also an Obama veteran, having served in the role of acting communications director in the former president’s administration in 2009.

Psaki, for her own part, has kept mum over her future job prospects – presumably for ethical reasons. 

When asked about potential ethical concerns about her reportedly joining MSNBC while still at the podium, Psaki said during an April 1 briefing that she has ‘abided’ by any and all ethics guidelines without confirming the report.  

'I just want to take the opportunity to celebrate and congratulate my friend, my colleague, my partner in truth Karine Jean-Pierre, the next White House Press Secretary,' she said at the start of her briefing on Thursday

‘I just want to take the opportunity to celebrate and congratulate my friend, my colleague, my partner in truth Karine Jean-Pierre, the next White House Press Secretary,’ she said at the start of her briefing on Thursday

‘Well, there are a range of stringent ethical and legal requirements that are imposed on everybody in this administration and many administrations past about any conversations you’re having with future employers,’ she deflected at the time.

‘That is true of any industry you’re working in. And I have abided by those, and tried to take steps to go beyond that as well.’ 

She added, fresh off a stint of isolation due to COVID: ‘I have nothing to confirm about my length of public service or planned service, or anything about consideration about next plans. I’m very happy to be standing with all of you here today after it felt like a never ending endless time in my basement quarantining away from my family.’ 

Other names that were potentially floated to replace Psaki are Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, State Department spokesman Ned Price and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield.

Jean-Pierre takes on the role as the White House faces an uphill battle to help Democrats hold onto the House and Senate in this fall’s midterm elections, and as the administration struggles to address Americans’ concerns about soaring inflation and the state of the economy. 

She also comes into the job as Biden faces a daunting array of foreign policy challenges, including the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and North Korea’s escalating nuclear testing program. 

Biden is set to visit South Korea and Japan later this month and Europe in June.

Taking the lectern briefly while Psaki briefed the press on Thursday, Jean-Pierre said she was ‘still processing’ the significance of her hire.

She called it ‘an honor and privilege to be behind this podium.’

‘This is a historic moment, and it’s not lost on me,’ she said. ‘It’s a very emotional day.’

How Biden’s new press secretary tried to kill herself after her ‘revolted’ mom refused to accept she was gay but was saved by her sister and worked as a firefighter before embarking on a political career and having a child with CNN partner

Joe Biden’s new press secretary attempted suicide after, wracked with anxiety about her sexuality, and with her mother reacting with disgust to her coming out, she failed to pass the exams to become a doctor.

Her sister Edwine found her unconscious and saved her, she said. 

Karine Jean-Pierre, 44, is the first black woman to become the White House press secretary, and the first openly gay person.

She lives in Washington DC with her partner Suzanne Malveaux, a CNN national correspondent.

They met in 2012 at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, and now have a seven-year-old daughter, Soleil, born in 2014. 

Jean-Pierre last year told her own story of coming out to her family, to mark Pride Month.

‘I came out to my Mom when I was 16 years old,’ she tweeted in June 2021. 

Karine Jean-Pierre is pictured center with her mother (right) and sister Edwine (left)

Karine Jean-Pierre is pictured center with her mother (right) and sister Edwine (left)

Jean-Pierre is seen with Jen Psaki on Thursday, as her new job was announced

Jean-Pierre is seen with Jen Psaki on Thursday, as her new job was announced

‘The revolted look on her face sent me running back into the proverbial closet and slamming the door shut. 

‘After that, my sexuality became a family secret and it would stay that way for years. 

‘I dated, but I hid those relationships from my family. 

‘Just as American society has evolved over the course of the past couple of decades to embrace the LGBTQ community (never forgetting we still have work to do), my family has evolved to embrace my membership in it. 

‘I’m proud to be an out Black Queer woman and I have been for quite some time. 

‘I’m happy to say, my Mother is now proud of ALL of who I am; she loves my partner and she loves being a doting grandmother to the daughter we are raising. 

‘My journey towards feeling accepted by myself and loved ones wasn’t an easy one, but it was worthwhile. 

‘No matter where you are in your journey, I see you, we see you and we celebrate you – Happy Pride!’ 

Jean-Pierre grew up in the New York borough of Queens, where the family moved when she was five.

Born in Martinique, Jean-Pierre is pictured celebrating a birthday as a child. The family moved to Queens when she was five

Born in Martinique, Jean-Pierre is pictured celebrating a birthday as a child. The family moved to Queens when she was five

Jean-Pierre is pictured on the day of her graduation, in New York

Jean-Pierre is pictured on the day of her graduation, in New York

Jean-Pierre is pictured with John Lewis, the late civil rights leader, when she worked as an activist for Move On

Jean-Pierre is pictured with John Lewis, the late civil rights leader, when she worked as an activist for Move On

Both her parents were Haitian: her father was a cab driver and her mother was a health care worker. 

She studied pre-med at New York Institute of Technology on Long Island, but failed to pass her exams.

In her 2019 book, she writes that that, coupled with struggling with her sexuality, led her to spiral into depression and attempt suicide – saved by her sister, Edwine, who found her following an attempted carbon monoxide poisoning.

‘I felt like an idiot,’ she writes.

‘Thanks in large part to my inability to confront my sexuality, I was so afraid of who I really was that I invested absolutely everything into who my parents and siblings thought I was and wanted me to be.

‘Becoming a doctor was to be my saving grace.

‘I had always clung to it as if it were a life raft.

‘So when I failed at this one thing, my entire world crumbled. I wanted to die.’

She said she now knows she ‘wasn’t thinking straight’, but spent weeks planning how to do it.

Jean-Pierre said she decided to kill herself to the sounds of Mary J. Blige’s song Everlasting Love, and was woken from her unconscious state by Edwine.

‘To this day, no one in my family has ever talked to me about my suicide attempt,’ she writes.

‘The fact that I actually tried to take my own life is so shameful and agonizing to me that I have never had the nerve to broach the subject with Edwine.’

She said she still feels ‘terrible about what I put Edwine through’.

From left: Edwine and her baby, Christopher, and Karine in a photo posted in April 2020

From left: Edwine and her baby, Christopher, and Karine in a photo posted in April 2020

Karine, Edwine and Christopher remain close, with Edwine and Christopher still living in New York

Karine, Edwine and Christopher remain close, with Edwine and Christopher still living in New York

The family are pictured visiting the White House in an undated photo

The family are pictured visiting the White House in an undated photo

But the sisters remain close, with Instagram photos showing them all together, with their brother Christopher, a personal trainer.

Both Edwine and Christopher still live in New York. 

Jean-Pierre then became a volunteer firefighter, and eventually landed a place at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Jean-Pierre has said she was never initially interested in politics – associating it, in her parents’ homeland, with corruption – but was mentored by David Dinkins, mayor of New York City from 1990 to 1993: the first black person to be mayor of the city.

Jean-Pierre is seen with her mentor David Dinkins, the first black mayor of New York City. He is holding a copy of her 2019 book, Moving Forward

Jean-Pierre is seen with her mentor David Dinkins, the first black mayor of New York City. He is holding a copy of her 2019 book, Moving Forward

Dinkins is pictured with Soleil, Jean-Pierre and Malveaux's daughter, who was born in 2014

Dinkins is pictured with Soleil, Jean-Pierre and Malveaux’s daughter, who was born in 2014

Jean-Pierre worked in local politics before getting involved on the national stage - first with John Edwards' campaign, and then in 2008 with Barack Obama

Jean-Pierre worked in local politics before getting involved on the national stage – first with John Edwards’ campaign, and then in 2008 with Barack Obama 

She worked in New York City council before becoming involved in national politics – working on the John Edwards campaign during his 2004 presidential run, and then in 2008 as the political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs during the Obama administration. 

Before joining the Biden presidential campaign, Jean-Pierre was the chief public affairs officer of the progressive group MoveOn.org and a former political analyst for NBC and MSNBC.  

Biden offered the job to Jean-Pierre on Thursday in the Oval Office. 

White House staffers were gathered after the offer and greeted Jean-Pierre with applause, an official said. 

Two ‘warm bottles’ of champagne were procured for a toast in White House paper cups, the official added.

Jean-Pierre had occasionally taken the lectern in the press briefing room instead of Psaki, and more frequently held off-camera ‘gaggles’ with reporters when Biden was traveling on Air Force One. 

Jean-Pierre is pictured with MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace, in yellow

Jean-Pierre is pictured with MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace, in yellow

Jean-Pierre addresses the press on January 24 in the White House grounds

Jean-Pierre addresses the press on January 24 in the White House grounds

She traveled with Biden to Europe last fall and in March instead of Psaki, who had tested positive for COVID-19 before both trips.  

Jean-Pierre takes on the role as the White House faces an uphill battle to help Democrats hold onto the House and Senate in this fall’s midterm elections, and as the administration struggles to address Americans’ concerns about soaring inflation and the state of the economy. 

She also comes into the job as Biden faces a daunting array of foreign policy challenges, including the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and North Korea’s escalating nuclear testing program. 

Biden is set to visit South Korea and Japan later this month and Europe in June.

‘Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris administration on behalf of the American people,’ Biden said in a statement.

He praised Jean-Pierre, who has served as his principal deputy press secretary since Inauguration Day.

Psaki, who leaves the White House on May 13, described her successor as a ‘partner in truth,’ noting the significance of the history-making appointment.

‘Representation matters and she is going to give a voice to so many and show so many what is truly possible when you work hard and dream big,’ Psaki said.

Taking the lectern briefly while Psaki briefed the press on Thursday, Jean-Pierre said she was ‘still processing’ the significance of her hire.

She called it ‘an honor and privilege to be behind this podium.’

‘This is a historic moment, and it’s not lost on me,’ she said. ‘It’s a very emotional day.’

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Source: dailymail

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