Trump administration’s Aversion to Accountability Underscores Why Congress Must Step Up and Allow Justice for Epstein’s Victims
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Trump administration is once again circling the wagons around a cabinet member involved in illegal behavior. “They made the best possible decision and deal they could have gotten at that time,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders today in reaction to a federal judge’s ruling on Feb. 21st that Labor Secretary Alex Acosta broke federal law when he, during his time as a U.S. Attorney, crafted a sweetheart plea deal in secret for a politically-connected billionaire, with little or no disclosure to victims and their families.
“While it’s jarring that the White House considers Secretary Acosta’s illegal deal to let a rich and powerful child sex predator off with a slap on the wrist without telling the victims to be the ‘best possible decision’ — standing by cabinet members accused of breaking the law is just par for the course for this administration,” said Kyle Herrig, senior advisor to Allied Progress, which recently ran digital ads and sent letters to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging accountability for Acosta by passing the Inspector General Access Act.
Added Herrig: “Secretary Acosta should have resigned immediately in the face of the judge’s ruling, but considering he bragged during his confirmation hearing that the Epstein case’s outcome is a ‘point of pride’, no one is holding their breath. Given his total lack of judgement, Acosta has no business continuing to make decisions as Labor Secretary that could potentially let the powerful exploit the powerless on a much larger scale.”
Yet, Acosta is apparently under no pressure to resign from within with the White House spin machine working hard on his behalf. It’s clear the victims and their families can’t look to President Trump for justice in this case, and in fact should consider him a barrier to it. That’s why it is incumbent upon Congress to step up by holding oversight hearings and by immediately acting on legislation that will open the door to accountability. Congress can start by passing the Inspector General Access Act, which already passed the House and is currently collecting dust in the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill would allow for a transparent and meaningful investigation into Acosta’s illegal misconduct, but Chairman Lindsey Graham has unfortunately decided to give Acosta a pass rather than risk an angry tweet directed at him from his good friend President Trump.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The Trump Administration Claims It Is Looking Into Alex Acosta’s Lenient Plea Deal With Jeffrey Epstein – But That Acosta Made “The Best Possible Decision And Deal” With Epstein At The Time.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Said The Trump Administration Is “‘Looking Into’” The Jeffrey Epstein Case, But She Thinks Alex Acosta “‘Made The Best Possible Decision And Deal’” At The Time.
On February 22, Trump Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Said That The White House Is “‘Looking Into’” Alex Acosta’s Plea Deal With Jeffrey Epstein. “The White House is ‘looking into’ a decade-old Florida case in which Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, then a federal prosecutor, potentially violated the law by keeping underage female victims of billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein in the dark about his plea deal to avoid federal prosecution.” [Rebecca Morin, “White House ‘looking into’ Alexander Acosta’s prosecution in billionaire pedophile case,” Politico, 02/22/19]
Huckabee Sanders Said, “‘My Understanding Is That’s A Very Complicated Case’” And That “‘They Made The Best Possible Decision And Deal They Could Have Gotten At Time.’” “’We’re looking into the matter, I’m not aware of any changes on that front,’ press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters when asked whether President Donald Trump’s confidence in Acosta has changed.’ She added: ‘My understanding is that’s a very complicated case … but that they made the best possible decision and deal they could have gotten at that time.’” [Rebecca Morin, “White House ‘looking into’ Alexander Acosta’s prosecution in billionaire pedophile case,” Politico, 02/22/19]
Sarah Huckabee Sanders Declined To Say If Trump Would Continue To Support Alex Acosta.
Huckabee Sanders Declined To Say If Donald Trump Will Back Alex Acosta, Saying “‘I’m Not Aware Of Any Changes’” In Trump’s Thoughts On The Secretary Of Labor. “Asked if Trump still has confidence in the latest member of his Cabinet — which he frequently praises as doing a collective solid job — Sanders declined to say the president does. ‘Again, that’s something we’re looking into,’ the spokeswoman said, ‘I’m not aware of any changes.’” [John T. Bennett, “White House ‘looking into’ Acosta’s role in sex offender’s illegal plea deal,”Roll Call, 02/22/19]
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