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Rich writes: "Perhaps at long last a serial rapist and pedophile may be brought to justice, more than a dozen years after he was first charged with crimes that have brutalized countless girls and women."

Acosta at Wednesday's press conference. (photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
Acosta at Wednesday's press conference. (photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)


Is Acosta Just the First Epstein Enabler to Fall?

By Frank Rich, New York Magazine

13 July 19


Most weeks, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich speaks with contributor Alex Carp about the biggest stories in politics and culture. Today, how far the Jeffrey Epstein prosecution might be able to reach.

n the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s indictment in New York, a number of powerful people formerly in Epstein’s orbit — Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Bill Clinton, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and Donald Trump — have been scrambling in the face of renewed scrutiny. What will Acosta’s exit and the new Epstein prosecution shake up, and what might they not be able to change?

Perhaps at long last a serial rapist and pedophile may be brought to justice, more than a dozen years after he was first charged with crimes that have brutalized countless girls and women. But what won’t change is this: the bipartisan cesspool of elites, many of them in New York, that allowed Epstein to flourish with impunity all these years. It’s the same transactional favor network that facilitated Trump’s rise in the 1970s and 1980s and that I wrote about last year in my piece on his mentor Roy Cohn. Indeed, some of the same bold-faced names that swarmed around Trump, Cohn, or both back then, whether at Studio 54 or Trump Tower, can be found in Epstein’s notorious black book.

Compared to the Manhattan heavy hitters who went to Epstein’s dinner parties, rode his private jet, and furthered the fiction that he was some kind of genius hedge-fund billionaire, the now-departed Alex Acosta was a mere flunky to be muscled (easily) by Epstein’s attorneys in the Southern District of Florida. But if Acosta is transparently a fool, a patsy, and a liar, how do we explain the others who looked the other way or kissed Epstein’s ass even as they noticed he was often in the company of a young harem? Easy: They got something in exchange from him, whether it be a free ride on that airborne “Lolita express” or some other form of monetary largesse, or entrée to the extravagant celebrity soirees he hosted at his townhouse, or, possibly and harrowingly, a pound or two of female flesh.

If you watch Fox News, you will believe that Bill Clinton was Epstein’s No. 1 pal and enabler. If you watch MSNBC, this scandal is usually all about Trump. In fact both presidents are guilty (at the very least) of giving Epstein cover and credibility, though the full extent of their respective exposure, moral and legal, won’t be known unless and until we get many more facts. Certainly the circumstantial evidence is creepy. Unsurprisingly Trump now asserts that he’s “not a fan” of Epstein even though their years-long friendship is profusely documented as far back as the early 1990s, when they were the sole men present at a 1992 “calendar girl competition” that Trump instigated at Mar-a-Lago and where more than two dozen “girls” were flown in. Clinton also appears to be trying to rewrite history. This week he released a statement saying that he had taken just four “trips” on Epstein’s jet even though FAA-mandated flight logs reportedly show that he was present on more than two dozen. In a letter written to prosecutors by two Epstein lawyers, Gerald Lefcourt and the inevitable Alan Dershowitz, in 2007, Epstein was named as a founding donor to the Clinton Global Initiative even though, as Marc Fisher reported in the Washington Post, “his name does not appear in public documents detailing the initiative’s leadership.” That same letter said that Clinton and Epstein spent a month on an African trip “to boost AIDS awareness.” A month? Clinton’s explanation at the time — he described Epstein as “a committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of twenty-first-century science” — is not borne out by reality. Among other problems with this story, no one can find any evidence that Epstein was a significant trader in markets, global or otherwise, since his brief early stint at Bear Stearns in the 1970s.

As for philanthropy, Epstein did give $6.5 million to Harvard, which Harvard, recently famous for disciplining a law professor on Harvey Weinstein’s defense team, decided to keep even after Epstein was first charged on sex offenses in 2006. (Harvard’s president from 2001–2006, Lawrence Summers, hosted Epstein during his frequent visits to Cambridge.) And Harvard is far from the only elite institution that has questions to address. Back in New York, there’s the Council on Foreign Relations, which harbored Epstein as a member, and the Dalton School, which hired Epstein to teach math in the 1970s even though he did not have a college degree. The Dalton headmaster at the time was William Barr’s father, Donald Barr, who would soon be pushed out. Did Epstein prey on students at Dalton? If so, did Donald Barr look the other way, like his counterparts at a rival elite New York school, Horace Mann, when its students were sexually victimized by staff in that same period? If so, that would be consistent with his son who, as Trump’s attorney general, tried to protect Acosta.

Both Republicans and Democrats, each locked in their own echo chambers, are pursuing this scandal as a partisan issue, on the apparent misapprehension that only the other party will be found guilty of harboring allies of a serial rapist. A rare exception among Democrats in D.C. is the DNC official Christine Pelosi (the Speaker’s daughter), who warned this week that “some of our faves” could go down with Epstein; nonetheless, the House Democrats have called for Acosta hearings likely to blow up in their faces. On the GOP side, only a single senator, Ben Sasse, questioned Acosta’s behavior this week, and even he (with characteristic cowardice) stopped short of calling for the Labor secretary’s resignation. The Wall Street Journal editorial page, meanwhile, portrayed Acosta as a political victim — a stand that, if nothing else, is in keeping with the ethos of its proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, who did nothing as Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly carried out their reign of sexual terror at Fox News.

There are so many unanswered questions about the Epstein affair. One umbrella question is whether the bipartisan crowd that cleared a path for him will cover its tracks before we can get answers — not just Clinton and Trump and all the New York elites who drank at Epstein’s trough, but also (among others) lawyers like the New York prosecutor Cy Vance Jr., whose office tried to downgrade Epstein’s sex-offender status; Ken Starr, who tried to pressure Republican Justice Department officials to kill the Epstein case; and Dershowitz, who tried to pressure the Pulitzer Prizes to shut out the Miami Herald for its epic investigative reporting that cracked opened the Epstein case anew.

While so many of the big fish in this vast sewer remain at large, we must meanwhile hope that Acosta, like Kirstjen Nielsen and any other Trump official who enabled the brutalization of children, is shunned by the private sector and polite society as Epstein, with tragic consequences, was not.

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+63 # DongiC 2019-07-13 12:25
The swamp that Trump was going to drain turns out to be centered in his own backyard withJeff Epstein as the groundsman-in-c hief. Trump's team is an absolute disgrace. Why isn't this buffoon impeached? Ask Nancy.
 
 
+38 # chrisconno 2019-07-13 18:24
I wish we valued our swamps, often known as wetlands, marshes and bogs more. After all they are life giving, water filtering, flood managing luxuries of our environment. But yet we vilify the swamp. Trump, and the republicans who support him, seem to arise not from life giving swamps but straight from grand industrialized agricultural cesspools. Concentrated pig shit sludge. We have a quagmire of debauchery dictating national policy. We've got the worst of the worst mucking for war in Iran while they torture men, women and children here for being brown. And still the Evangelicals soldier on about zygote heartbeats. How much further down to the bottom will we go? How much worse does this have to get before decency has no chance of returning? Stand up Democrats. Bernie, Warren and AOC and friends are. Now is the time to stand up to the soils of degeneracy and lead us out of this repugnance.
 
 
+26 # hectormaria 2019-07-13 13:53
Maybe Trump is next. Question is: Why have we have sank so low that Trump supporters can see him as their 'White Messiah'? It's true that Trump never admits to being at fault, of being duplicitous; and, always blame others when accused of wrong doing. That, he thinks the world of himself, of being pure of heart; exemplifies perfection. This, to the extent that had he been part of the crowd that brought the adulterous woman to Jesus demanding she'd be stoned to death, he would have stepped forward to throw the first stone after Jesus said that 'he that has never sinned be the one to cast the first stone.' Trump simply suffers from 'egoism delirium tremens', because he is drunk with narcissistic power.
 
 
+12 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-13 14:17
Rich is right that Acosta was only a flunky. There are very many references way back in 2008 to the fact that the plea deal was brokered at all levels of the DOJ and FBI. This would have meant full understanding of the deal by Mueller head of the FBI and Alberto Gonzalez the Bush Attorney General and incoming Eric Holder. Very likely Obama also understood what was going down in Florida.

There were just too many very powerful people to protect. Rich needs to take seriously the many articles pointing to information suggesting that Epstein was an FBI informant and as asset for MOSSAD. This would explain why he was protected by the FBI and DOJ since the early 90s when his career as child pimp to the billionaires began.

Rich ends this piece well. Probably Epstein will be protected and so will all the billionaires and stars who supported him. But unlike Rich, I hope Acosta now talks openly. He knows who gave the "back off" order on the Epstein prosecution. He knows what evidence the DOJ had against Epstein.

This is really the world against the billionaire mafia of New York. No one has ever beaten or disciplined them. Never. I wish this time would be different but probablh it won't. Epstein will be buried in some prison where the inmates will soon kill him. Then the story will just die, too.
 
 
+30 # bobmiller101 2019-07-13 17:04
As time goes by, I am losing almost all respect for Clintion. When he was elected, I, and MANY OTHERS were ecstatic! I mean, we survived Reagan and Bush 1, so UP was the only way we could go. The economy started to boom and things looked rosy. When the Repubs started their attacks on Clinton, of course we came to his defense. As a retired attorney, I knew that the impeachment was a political sham. I still believe that. But since then, I now realize the road Clinton took us down; 1994 "3 strikes law," welfare reform, cozing up to Wall St and BIG BANKING........ .... well, you get the idea. His policies have led us to where we are today, that being government of, by and for the 1%. The uber-rich think they can DO ANYTHING; if caught, they just buy their way out. They are an EXCLUSIVE CLUB that transcends party loyalty. (CONT)
 
 
+1 # chapdrum 2019-07-15 19:18
Like Carlin said, "It's a big club and you ain't in it."
Like Vidal said, "it's a one-party country with two right wings."
 
 
+27 # bobmiller101 2019-07-13 17:25
CONTINUED... Nancy, and much of the Democratic Party are nothing but enablers, despite what they say. That's why much of the media and Republicans and "Centrist" Democrats ATTACK AOC and her new, PROGRESSIVE cohorts. THEY ARE MY HEROES! With the apparent leftward shift in the Democratic Party, cracks are beginning to appear in the walls that protected these selfish, self-centered megalomaniacs. Their protection was in the fact that their nefarious deeds were usually covered up, including the mainstream "liberal" media. The MEDIA is probably their biggest enabler.
Bernie tried to bring this up during the last election, but the media and the leadership in the Democratic Party quickly tried to stifle him. THIS ELECTION CYCLE is beginning to change things. With Bernie and Elizabeth now doing well, the party is shifting, even if so slowly. As long as the media could divert out attention from the 1% to the Kardasians, cute cat videos, and the Monarchy, the top had little to fear. But today, with social media, independent news services, such as RSN (THANK YOU!), many eyes are being opened. As Churchill said, "This is not be the beginning of the end, but it may be the end of the beginning." Let's see.
 
 
+6 # Depressionborn 2019-07-14 11:37
It is likely worse than you say, 101.
“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 Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)
 
 
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-15 12:16
Depression -- yes, it is a lot worse. Court documents show that the FBI did the investigation of 40 sexually abused children prior to the 2008 in Florida. The FBI had all the information on Epstein's crimes. But the FBI, Epstein's defense attorneys, and the Miami Federal prosecutors all conspired to defraud the court and present only a very small part of the information they knew just so the weak plea deal would be approved by the judge. They admit to this in emails. This is a very serious federal crime for all of those people. Who led the FBI in 2007-08 when this went down? None other than democratic hero, Bob Mueller.

https://bigleaguepolitics.com/fbi-pedophile-jeffrey-epstein-was-informant-for-muellers-fbi/
 
 
+9 # chapdrum 2019-07-13 19:16
Maybe it's a tad more important that Trump's enablers fall.
 
 
+4 # davehaze 2019-07-14 09:42
No. Go back and reread the article. Democrats will be shocked at the odious behavior of the Republicans involved and Republicans visa versa. If a child is raped do you look for the politics of the rappist before being significantly shocked?

My thought: both Trump and Clinton will never be punished or significantly shamed for their deeds and misdeeds. Repubs believe Clinton worse and Dems believe...
 
 
+1 # DongiC 2019-07-14 23:03
Clinton was sleazy, no doubt about it. But, he was much slicker than Trump. Maybe, he wasn't punished enough for all his crimes but his vice president (Gore) and his wife (Hillary) certainly were.
 
 
-4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-15 12:19
chap -- Google seems to agree with you. Yesterday, I searched on Google for "Clinton and Epstein." I got back tons of links to "trump and Epstein" and only l link for a Clinton article. Cleary, Google is steering everyone to the Trump/Epstein connection and away from Clinton/Epstein . Quite astonishing. But this is how news is fabricated. My prediction is that in a short time we will see articles that prove Trump and Epstein are more closely associated because of the number of Google hits it produces.
 
 
0 # Depressionborn 2019-07-15 14:34
Quoting chapdrum:
Maybe it's a tad more important that Trump's enablers fall.

When Epstein showed up with a 14 yr old Trump threw him out and "don't come back". Google censors this!
 
 
+15 # Colleen Clark 2019-07-13 23:22
Men don't understand how SLEAZY someone like Epstein is, unless he goes after one of the women in their own families.
Inexcusable.
 
 
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-15 12:21
Colleen, I totally agree with you, but even someone like Vicky Ward who wrote the earliest and some of the best exposes of Epstein's sleaze admits she was tempted by his charm. Why do women often respond to the charm of a sleaze-king like Epstein. Can't they see it? I can sure see it.
 
 
+15 # janie1893 2019-07-14 01:05
Until the western world comes to the realization that our ethics have changed in a very fundamental way, we won't get a handle on the true reason for 'the swamp' and how to fix it. It all has to do with lucre versus enlightened civility. We would rather be rich than ethical.
 
 
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-15 18:41
Janie -- what you say is exactly what Putin said in the Financial Times interview last week that has caused so much storm for American journalists. See the article by Sean Wilentz on RSN. Putin says America and Western Europe have become too decadent and corrupt. He does not want Russia to go that way. You would agree with Putin.
 
 
+5 # Roger Kotila 2019-07-14 22:23
Some have speculated that Epstein is a MOSSAD agent. Hence, the resources to live a life of fantasy with seemingly unlimited wealth and connections in high places. His purpose? BLACKMAIL.

What better way to control politicians than having video's of VIP's having sex with young girls and/or boys? Might blackmail be part of the way that Israeli Zionists control the US Congress and the US President(s).

If the above speculation has merit, Epstein's targets would include "normal" VIP men looking for sexual pleasure and excitement, and closet pedophiles.
 
 
0 # E-Mon 2019-07-16 01:27
Roger Kotila, Yeah that's what I think is really going on. I think the rabbit hole goes way deeper than people realize. Gotta wonder just how many of the rich and powerful politicians, media moguls, Hollywood producers and stars, bankers, and law enforcement officials have been compromised. Lured into the web thinking they're above the law only to be told guess what?... Remember that time you did such and such? Well we've got photos and video so from here on out you'll do as your told. That's where it gets tricky though... Just how many upper echelon law enforcement have been compromised? Maybe they're just covering their own asses???
 

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