Now Psaki and the Justice Department are asking federal court in Virginia to essentially antagonize Doughty, an appointee of President Donald Trump, and excuse Psaki from testifying.
Psaki, who left her White House position in May and is preparing to host a new show on MSNBC, said it would be “extremely onerous” for her to force her to testify in the case.
“Among other things, I understand that I would have to spend several days preparing for the deposition and attending the deposition itself, which would be very disruptive to both my work and my family,” Psaki said in a statement. a statement filed with the Federal Court of Alexandria.
Psaki has hired a powerful attorney to represent her in the lawsuit, Jeannie Rhee, a veteran of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Attorneys for the Justice Department have also weighed in, arguing that if her statement goes through, it will almost certainly lead to a protracted battle over administrative law, due to her role as President Joe Biden’s top adviser.
“If allowed to proceed, the impeachment of Ms. Psaki would inevitably put the executive and judiciary on a collision course with rulings on executive privilege, leaving the court in an awkward position to challenge the claims.” of the executive on confidentiality and autonomy,” and “difficult issues of separation of powers and checks and balances” would soon be put forward,” Justice Department lawyers wrote, citing a 2004 Supreme Court case involving Vice President Dick Cheney.
“Plaintiffs have not found any evidence to show or even suggest that Ms. Psaki, in her capacity as press secretary, ever communicated with a social media company about misinformation, let alone ‘exercised coercion’ to force a social media company to action,” the DOJ letter say.
Federal court rules allow Psaki to ask the Virginia court to quash or limit the subpoena because she lives in Virginia. Her motion was awarded to Judge Patricia Giles, a Biden appointee.
In recent years, such motions have often been transferred to the court hearing the original lawsuit, but the Justice Department said it opposed such a move this time. DOJ attorneys also noted that Psaki is no longer a defendant in the lawsuit, as she was replaced by Karine Jean-Pierre when Jean-Pierre took over in May.
“The issuing district has not addressed the arguments that Ms. Psaki could make as a non-party … regarding unnecessary charges,” Justice Department lawyers wrote.
Justice Department officials have agreed to make some current and former officials available for testimony, but they have asked a federal appeals court in New Orleans to block Doughty’s order requiring testimony from three officials: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Jen Easterly and White House director of digital strategy Rob Flaherty.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the request.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is a US Senate nominee, is leading the trial, along with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. Former President Donald Trump filed three similar lawsuits against the major social media companies last year, but has failed to gain discovery in connection with any of them.
Rhee, Psaki and Schmitt’s office did not respond to messages for comment on the dispute.