The Corner

The Dog That Isn’t Barking?

I believe that the White House memo is probably true–Sestak wasn’t offered the secretary of navy job and he was offered advisory positions. But, as Dan points out, that doesn’t jibe with the way Sestak talked about the offer and his body language during this entire affair–all of which suggested an offer of a real, honest-to-goodness job. The potential key here is what seems to be a non-denial denial. The memo says “options for Executive Branch service were raised with him.” The next sentence could have been something like, “None of these jobs were paid.” But there’s no such categorical sentence in the entire document. Instead, it goes on to explain the advisory positions that were discussed with him, leaving the distinct impression without stating it that those were the only jobs offered. Am I reading it too closely? Maybe. Would this be an extremely lawyerly dodge? Yes. But these are very experienced and talented lawyers. Will someone ask about this and get an answer soon? Let’s hope so. The implication of the memo is that the whole mess is Sestak’s fault by leaving a false, exaggerated impression of what happened. If we assume the original impression Sestak gave was accurate, putting out this memo would carry some potential risk of contradiction for the White House, unless it had coordinated with Sestak in advance.

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