Byron York spoke to Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, who had this to say about Obama’s curt answer to Major Garrett’s Sestak question, yesterday:
“That means the answer will be forthcoming after the lights go out for the weekend,” Issa said shortly after the news conference. “While the president is away and nobody’s available, a statement will come out.”
The way Issa sees it, the White House has to thread the needle when it finally responds to Sestak’s charges. A retired Navy admiral, Sestak is now the Democratic candidate for Senate from Pennsylvania, and the White House wants all the Democratic senators it can get. So they can’t come out and call Sestak a liar or a hack. On the other hand, they can’t admit that what Sestak is saying is true, because that would be, in the words of top White House adviser David Axelrod, a “serious breach of the law.”
So what can the White House do? “They can say we’re sorry, that the job offer was not intended to be a quid pro quo,” Issa says. “They can say that we offered a job to a person who was in the process of running for a Senate seat but who we felt he was better suited to be secretary of the Navy, and we never intended for it to be a quid pro quo but rather to fill our Cabinet with good people. That’s the only thread-the-needle that I see.”Unfortunately for the White House, more questions would necessarily follow:“Everybody is going to ask [Emanuel], Did you talk to the president about this?” Issa says. “What happened when [Sestak] turned you down? Did you believe he would get out of the race for this job? Did you talk to Arlen Specter about this? All those questions are inevitable.”
All seven Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder on Wed. to ask for a special prosecutor to be appointed.
Newsbusters picked up on this droll moment from Morning Joe, yesterday:
There was a classic moment on Morning Joe today when Mika Brzezinski asked Time editor Rick Stengel whether the magazine’s current issue contains anything about the allegations that the Obama admin offered Joe Sestak a top federal job in return for getting out of the Senate primary against Arlen Specter. Hat tip NB reader sarainitaly.
A flat-footed Stengel seemed totally stumped. He stammered and stumbled until Mika gently explained she was talking about “the Sestak controversy. Joe Sestak.” Finally the penny appeared to drop: “oh, Sestak. No. No. There is not. There is not.”
Here’s how Time online covered the story: A Sestak Offer? Criminally Stupid, Not Criminal
If it’s true that the White House offered Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak a job to try to clear the Democratic Senate primary for incumbent Arlen Specter, that’s disturbing.
But not because anyone is “participating in the cover-up of a possible crime.” This doesn’t sound like a “potentially devastating accusation of political corruption,” much less an “impeachable offense,” no matter what nonsense Michael Steele or Sean Hannity are peddling. Republicans may be calling for a special prosecutor, and even Democratic Senator Dick Durbin wants to know what happened. But it’s called politics, and it’s not uncommon. News flash: Sometimes the politics of political appointments and political races can get political.
No mention in the entire article about the federal laws that may have been broken….no mention that even David Axelrod acknowledged that if White House officials offered a job to Joe Sestak to keep him from challenging incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter, that would “constitute a serious breach of the law.”
The article could have been written by one of the hacks at Media Matters. Pathetic. No wonder no one reads Time Magazine, anymore.
Oh, I know! How about a fine dusting of William Jefferson Clinton:
Senior White House advisers asked former President Bill Clinton to talk to Joe Sestak about whether he was serious about running for Senate, and to feel out whether he’d be open to other alternatives, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Read the rest at NRO. This is apparently what the WH will release later, today.
Michelle Malkin: Why did the White House contact Joe Sestak’s brother?
Is Bob “The Silencer” Bauer hard at work fixing the Sestak scandal for Boss Obama?
Roll Call reports that somebody at the White House dialed up Joe Sestak’s brother and campaign manager, Richard, yesterday in preparation for the “official statement” that the president promised would be released soon
Just One Minute: Sestak – The Cover-Up Is Coming Together
Update II: What kind of unpaid position would be attractive enough to get Sestak out of the Senate primary? That’s a darned good question, and I’ll bet the Obama White House is scrambling to make up find an answer. If Sestak challenges this spin, though, I’d be very surprised. I think he’s looking for an exit from this scandal at least as hard as Obama and his staff.
Read it at Hot Air.
I’m not buying the “unpaid advisory” line at all. Bullcrap. Quit a Senate race for some unpaid bs position with the WH? I don’t think so. This is how they avoid looking like they crossed a legal line. But no doubt they’ve got all their ducks in a row — all their stories are going to match up very neatly.
Time for them to start working on the Romanoff case, now..
Byron York is so on this story: GOP: White House Sestak story not believable
In a statement, Rep. Darrell Issa, who has been pursuing the Sestak issue in his role as ranking Republican on the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, said the Bauer memo just doesn’t match up with Sestak’s public statements. “After more than ten weeks of outstanding questions, the White House has offered a version of events that has important differences from what Congressman Sestak has been saying for months – that he was offered a ‘job’ by ’someone in the White House’ in exchange for leaving the Pennsylvania Senate race,” Issa said.
“I’m very concerned that in the rush to put together this report, the White House has done everything but explain its own actions and has instead worked to craft a story behind closed doors and coordinate with those involved,” Issa continued.
Pretty much a nicer way of saying what I just said, above: “bullcrap”.
In addition, the brief White House statement — it doesn’t quite fill a page and a half — leaves many questions unanswered. “This doesn’t give a full accounting of what Rahm Emanuel’s role in this was, what [deputy White House chief of staff] Jim Messina’s role was, or whether any of the techniques used in the Romanoff matter were used here,” says the investigator. (That is a reference to reports that the White House offered another candidate, Colorado’s Andrew Romanoff, a job if he would not challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.) Also, the investigator notes, the offering of uncompensated advisory positions would still violate laws prohibiting exchanging jobs for political acts.
Cool, Issa’s on the Romanoff case, now too. Good to hear.
Michelle Malkin has Issa’s full statement on the WH memo.
Michelle now has Sestak’s statement up, as well.
He writes that Clinton “said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives. I said no”.
Who would call an unpaid spot on a “Presidential Board”, a job?
Doesn’t add up.
Ace has some thoughts on that Sec. of Navy job that some are saying couldn’t have been the job bribe – This is why AoSHQ is considered a “smart military blog” (scroll down):
But It Could Have Been the SecNavy Job
The claim about it being impossible to be the Secretary of Navy job relies on timing — the job wasn’t open at the moment, therefore it couldn’t have been offered.
But that assumes a direct, explicit immediate quid pro quo — don’t jump into the race and we appoint you Secretary of the Navy.
That’s not how this would have been done — everyone knows that that is illegal on its face.
Keep reading at Ace’s.