Attorney General Michael Mukasey backtracked his earlier comments that the Justice Department should appoint a special counsel to look into the alleged White House job offer to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), telling Fox News in an interview Friday afternoon that was “highly questionable if there’s any crime.”
Sestak has said the White House promised him a job if he did not challenge Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary for Senate. In a memo issued by the White House Friday, White House counsel Robert Bauer said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel enlisted former President Bill Clinton to persuade Sestak not to run. Clinton allegedly discussed getting Sestak an unpaid, advisory role with the White House, but nothing improper occurred, Bauer wrote.
Earlier in the week, Mukasey said the allegations warranted the appointment of a special prosecutor. But on Friday afternoon, Mukasey muted his previous comments, saying it would be “a stretch” to say what occurred was criminal.
“I think that as of now, this is something that could be looked at by someone in the Public Integrity Section,” of the Justice Department, Mukasey said. “It really is a stretch. It would have to be something much more direct than what we have here.”
“If it was some sort of direct offer to him… that’s very different, Mukasey added.