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10 Things in Politics: How WH's Jen Psaki can cash in

Brent D. Griffiths   

10 Things in Politics: How WH's Jen Psaki can cash in
PoliticsPolitics5 min read

Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Send tips to or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here's what we're talking about:

1. INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE: Being the White House press secretary has its perks. Jen Psaki isn't yet ready to give up the job she missed out on during the Obama administration. But she has said she'll follow the trend of top spokespeople leaving long before a president's term is up. When that day comes, her predecessors and corporate headhunters say, Psaki can do just about anything.

Here's a peek at how they say Psaki can cash in:

Her $180,000 salary "will increase dramatically": "A seven-figure total compensation is certainly not out of bounds," Nels Olson, a Korn Ferry vice chair who leads executive searches, told my colleagues.

Psaki has been down this road before: After serving as Obama's final communications director, Psaki worked as a CNN on-air contributor and a senior advisor at two consulting firms: WestExec Advisors and Bryson Gillette. She also founded her own firm, Evergreen Consulting LLC, where she worked with the likes of Lyft and Demand Justice.

  • Sean Spicer says her background sets her apart from others who've had the top job: Spicer said he never had trouble finding work, despite reports that all the major networks refused to hire him. The former press secretary has some harsh words for the reporters left in the briefing room he once famously used to lie about Donald Trump's inauguration crowd size. He said it's "an embarrassment the way that the White House press corps has conducted themselves as a whole," suggesting reporters are pulling their punches.

Former press secretaries describe why no one lasts a full term in the job.

2. Bipartisan infrastructure plan could pass tonight: Senators last night passed the final significant hurdle to passage of the nearly $1 trillion proposal over the weekend, Politico reports. Eighteen Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined Democrats in advancing the proposal. But it's not quite on easy street yet. It's still unclear when the House will consider the legislation.

3. Top Cuomo aide resigns: Melissa DeRosa, a top aide who frequently appeared with Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York during the coronavirus pandemic, announced her resignation last night, The Wall Street Journal reports. DeRosa was mentioned throughout the 168-page investigative report commissioned by the state attorney general that found Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women. DeRosa was named in connection to an alleged retaliation effort against one of Cuomo's accusers. More on the fallout.

4. Florida doctors are reaching their breaking point: On Saturday, nearly 24,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, marking an all-time single-day high for the state. More than a year on, doctors and medical workers told my colleagues about the fight's toll on them. "Humanly, you break at some point," one doctor said. "You just emotionally break."

5. Three more lawmakers failed to properly disclose their stock trades: Republican Reps. August Pfluger and Steve Chabot and Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos failed to disclose up to tens of thousands of dollars in trades for weeks or months as required by federal law, according to my colleagues' reporting. There's a growing list of lawmakers who can't seem to be properly transparent about their financial dealings.

Elsewhere in the Capitol, Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, a Republican from Indiana, has spread up to $7 million in stock buys between two oil companies.

See which other companies lawmakers are trading.

6. Second-largest wildfire in California's history rages on: The Dixie fire has burned more than 463,000 acres and destroyed more than 400 buildings, the Los Angeles Times reports. The fire was only 21% contained as of Sunday morning. Here's the latest.

Photos of the devastation: They capture the remains of the California town of Greenville, which the Dixie Fire enveloped in only 30 minutes.

7. Taliban continue to amass territory: The Taliban have seized three provincial capitals as fighters swiftly retake land around Afghanistan, The New York Times reports. The string of Taliban victories has not changed the White House's view on ending America's longest war. One US official told The Times that the US was unlikely to undo the Taliban's advances.

8. Trumpworld is being tormented by a once dormant legal office: The Department of Justice has stepped up enforcement of a decades-old federal law requiring the disclosure of foreign lobbying, a legacy from Robert Mueller's inquiry that has ensnared Rudy Giuliani and other Trump allies. Attorneys and former officials say the office has unprecedented resources. See which people the Justice Department's crackdown is spelling trouble for.

9. Average pay for restaurant and supermarket workers tops $15 an hour: The labor market recently hit the milestone mark for the first time, The Washington Post reports. Nearly 80% of all US workers earn at least $15 an hour, The Post said, up from 60% in 2014. More on how large companies are raising wages as competition for workers reaches a fever pitch.

10. All the moments you missed at the Olympics: Team USA edged out China for the most gold medals after a final-day surge of three golds capped off by the women's volleyball team.

A look at the final medal count:

Ladies first: Nearly 60% of US medalists were women, blowing past the previous best set during the 2012 London Games. The 66 medals are the most won by American women at an Olympics.

Scenes from the end of the games: Tokyo handed over the Olympic flag to Paris, as the French city celebrated knowing its turn is just three years away.

Today's trivia question: Staying with White House press secretaries, which item has been handed down by presidential spokespeople since the Ford administration? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at

  • Friday's answer: Speaking of the Ford administration, it was President Gerald Ford, an All-American at Michigan, who formed a commission in 1975 to get the AAU, the NCAA, and the US Olympic Committee to hash out their differences. This paved the way for congressional action, which gave the now-US Olympic and Paralympic Committee the sole responsibility of assembling an American Olympic team.