Also yesterday, in Epstein, Acosta, Trump--And The Russia Hoax! I quoted investigative reporter to this fascinating effect:
Epstein’s name, I was told, had been raised by the Trump transition team when Alexander Acosta, the former U.S. attorney in Miami who’d infamously cut Epstein a non-prosecution plea deal back in 2007, was being interviewed for the job of labor secretary. The plea deal put a hard stop to a separate federal investigation of alleged sex crimes with minors and trafficking.
“Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” Acosta had been asked. Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta.
The obvious question is: "Intelligence"? What "Intelligence"? A number of talking heads have hinted at the possibility that Epstein was simply a front for bigger players. Zerohedge has carried two blogs by Mike Krieger that address that question. This morning in Bombshell: Alex Acosta Reportedly Claimed Jeffrey Epstein "Belonged To Intelligence" Krieger sets the table, so to speak:
it appeared his real job was to run a blackmail operation to ensnare some of the most wealthy and powerful people on earth. ... he was collecting this priceless information on behalf of a third party ...
Krieger is referring here to a previous blog in which he shares some "extremely bizarre facts about Jeffrey Epstein and the people around him." You can find that here: The Jeffrey Epstein Rabbit Hole Goes a Lot Deeper Than You Think. After sharing that information Krieger concludes:
It looks as if Jeffrey Epstein’s real job was to obtain blackmail on some of the world’s most wealthy and powerful players, and in this sense he was a huge success. The much bigger question is whether he was doing this primarily for himself or if he was a frontman for other players to whom such information would be priceless.
The reason I put this together is to expose as many people as possible to this bizarre information. I hope journalists and criminal investigators dig deep into all this stuff (and more) in order to truly get to the bottom of who Jeffrey Epstein is, where his money came from and who, if anyone, he answers to.
There may be a lot more here than meets the eye.
The current CW on Epstein, at least among the Smart People, is that there is no reasonable or even remotely plausible explanation for how he got his money. None at all. So from that standpoint, and taking Acosta's statement into account, Krieger's viewpoint seems, well, entirely reasonable in the circumstances. Read Krieger's Rabbit Hole blog entry for details.
Finally, Alex Acosta. Dems and the Powerline bloggers have been out for Acosta's scalp, but commenters Forbes and Yancey Ward--and I, too--beg to differ (see the comments at Epstein: Sphere Of Influence). It's not that Acosta covered himself with credit or merit, but he simply wasn't the person controlling events. To make him the scapegoat risks missing the forest for a single tree. Today the WSJ rides to Acosta's defense, behind their subscription wall. First in their lead editorial, Prosecuting Alex Acosta--Democrats try to blame the Labor Secretary for Jeffrey Epstein, and then through Holman Jenkins' article, Trump and the Sex Offender--Guess why the press makes a villain out of Jeffrey Epstein’s only successful prosecutor?
The editorial points out:
There’s nothing in the Epstein indictment to indicate that Mr. Acosta abused his power or violated his oath as U.S. Attorney. By all publicly available evidence, Mr. Acosta acted honorably and drove a tougher deal with Mr. Epstein than state prosecutors and some lower-level U.S. prosecutors sought.
The non-prosecution agreement required Mr. Epstein to cop to two state felonies that led to a 13-month jail sentence, register for life as a sex offender and pay restitution to victims as well as their attorney fees. Mr. Schumer’s friend, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., is the prosecutor who in 2011 sought to downgrade Mr. Epstein’s sex-offender status in New York where he was required to register because he had a home.
According to documents unsealed in a related federal case, low-level federal prosecutors initially sought to have Mr. Epstein plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Former state attorney Barry Krischer for unclear reasons also pushed for lighter charges.
But Mr. Acosta pushed back against Mr. Epstein’s lawyers.
Mr. Acosta also sought to ensure that victims’ rights were respected. “We intend to provide victims with notice of the federal resolution, as required by law,” Mr. Acosta wrote to a defense attorney who objected to victims being notified of the non-prosecution agreement.
The editors conclude:
Democrats shouldn’t get away with implying that Mr. Acosta is guilty of prosecutorial abuses without evidence. President Trump shouldn’t throw Mr. Acosta to the same mob that has indicted him without evidence of colluding with the Russians.
Jenkins is making much the same point, but does so by taking on the Miami Herald's virtue signaling (despite their admittedly excellent reporting):
A much-cited story in the Miami Herald last November is headlined “How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime.” The paper thereby invokes a previously unknown form of retroactive quantum action at a distance, since Alexander Acosta’s actions as a U.S. attorney in Florida in 2007 could not have been premised on Mr. Trump being president a decade later.
The headline is also misleading. In fact, the Herald’s 5,000-word exposé tells us very little about the reasons and circumstances behind the 2008 plea deal in which Mr. Epstein agreed to plead guilty to two felonies, serve an 18-month jail sentence, pay restitution to certain victims, and accept designation for life as a registered sex offender.
Instead, the paper tells us what its own sources are willing to say now about Mr. Epstein more than a decade after the prosecution. What a newspaper can report in 2018 and what a prosecutor can prove in 2007 are two very different things. A fact the Herald also should have made plain: It was precisely Mr. Epstein’s conviction at the hands of Mr. Acosta that helped fuel the filing of civil lawsuits and emergence of newly declared victims that became the basis for the Herald’s own reporting.
Making an even bigger joke of the paper’s positioning of Mr. Acosta as Mr. Epstein’s protector is this glaring fact: It wasn’t Mr. Acosta but New York County’s district attorney—a member of the city’s ruling Democratic elite, with the illustrious name of Cyrus Vance Jr.—who in 2011 sought to undo Mr. Acosta’s work by relieving Mr. Epstein of his Level 3 sex offender status in New York state.
But then Mr. Vance is not a member of the Trump administration.
And Jenkins concludes with this just observation:
Would the Herald even have invested in reporting the Epstein story if it couldn’t also have flounced up an anti-Trump angle?
Yes, it’s been rough couple of decades for the newspaper business. At the kindest, the Herald should have had the confidence to rest its claim to public attention on what it had to reveal about Mr. Epstein’s behavior rather than trying so pathetically to annex its reporting to an au courant anti-Trump narrative.