Donald Trump’s friend Jeffrey Epstein was arrested last night on charges of sex trafficking of minors. On its own, this wouldn’t tell us anything about Trump being involved in Epstein’s alleged crimes. But based on publicly available information, there’s a lot about the Epstein arrest that leads to Trump’s doorstep.
First, there’s the fact that after federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta gave Jeffrey Epstein a ridiculously lenient plea deal a decade ago, Donald Trump turned around and named Acosta his Secretary of Labor in 2017. This on its own would be rather circumstantial. It’s not as if Trump could have said to Acosta a decade ago, “I’m going to be President someday and I’ll reward you if you let Epstein off the hook.” In addition, Acosta was Trump’s second choice for Labor Secretary, not his first. But when you consider that Trump and Epstein are old friends, the context changes.
It’s almost impossible to imagine that Trump didn’t know Acosta was the one who let his friend Epstein off the hook, when Trump decided to nominate Acosta for his cabinet. So while it may not have been a quid pro quo from the start between Trump and Acosta, it certainly looks like Trump was rewarding Acosta after the fact, for having helped out his friend. This leads to the key question in all this. After Trump learned that his friend Epstein was a child molester, why would he reward the guy who let Epstein off the hook, instead of turning against Epstein? Sure, Trump is a criminal himself. But even most criminals despise child molesters.
This brings us to the money quote. In 2002, Donald Trump said this about Jeffrey Epstein to New York Magazine: “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” Keep in mind that Epstein’s arrest last night was for alleged sex trafficking from 2002 to 2005. Are we supposed to look at this quote and believe that Trump didn’t know what was going on?
Donald Trump’s friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, and his decision to reward the prosecutor who let Epstein off the hook, point to corruption. Trump’s own words about Epstein seem to point to something more. Epstein appears to be nailed on these new charges, and this time the public scrutiny will prevent Epstein from easily getting off the hook. He’ll have to seriously consider cutting a plea deal just to get a medium prison sentence instead of a very long one.
Former federal prosecutor Joyce White Vance posted this illuminating tweet: “SDNY requires a defendant who wants a cooperation deal to tell the truth about all crimes he knows of. If Epstein doesn’t want to spend a very long time in prison, perhaps the rest of his life, in prison, his path to a reduced sentence may well be through Trump.” In other words, if the SDNY hasn’t already managed to suss out whatever role Trump played in all this, Epstein could well turn around and hand it to them.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report